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Setting the scene: UK Culture Secretary claims Channel 4 privatisation is for its own benefit


A scene from hit Channel 4 comedy 'Derry Girls'

A scene from hit Channel 4 comedy 'Derry Girls'

A scene from hit Channel 4 comedy 'Derry Girls'

UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries said privatising Channel 4 is for the “benefit” of the broadcaster after being accused of pursuing a “petty vendetta”.

MPs raised fresh concerns over the government’s plans to sell the broadcaster, which has been publicly owned but funded by advertising since its creation in 1982.

“Ninety-six per cent of the people who responded to the Channel 4 consultation did not support privatisation,” Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine told the Commons.

“Can the government please explain why they are not paying attention and determined to privatise Channel 4?”

Ms Dorries replied: “Fifty-three per cent of people in a public poll actually thought that Channel 4 was already privately owned.

“We have to address what is a rapidly changing landscape in terms of broadcasting.

“As we know, linear advertising is decreasing and Channel 4 is dependent on that advertising. It is a decision that we have to take for the benefit of Channel 4.”

She said the decision would allow the broadcaster to raise investment, and added in response to later questions about whether it would protect British content, that “it is being sold as a public service broadcaster and those criteria... absolutely will be in there”.

Labour shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell suggested a consultation on Channel 4 showed a lack of support for privatisation.

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