Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Culture secretary ‘re-examining business case’ for privatising Channel 4

Michelle Donelan said the new government is "making sure" it agrees with the decision to privatise the broadcaster

The UK’s new culture secretary Michelle Donelan has said she is re-examining the business case of selling off Channel 4.

Earlier this year Donelan’s predecessor Nadine Dorries set the wheels in motion for the broadcaster to be privatised.

However, the change in UK prime minister seems to have led to a possible change in policy around the broadcaster.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Donelan said the new government is looking especially at the business case for the sale of Channel 4 and “making sure that we still agree with that decision”.

“I’m the type of politician that bases their decisions on evidence, that bases their decisions on listening, and that’s what I will be doing over the coming weeks,” she added. “| will take that approach when it comes to Channel 4 and every aspect of my brief.”

Asked about the other major aspect of her brief in terms of broadcasting, the future of the BBC’s licence fee, Donelan paid tribute to the BBC’s coverage of the Queen’s funeral.

“I think the BBC has done a tremendous job in the last few days and nobody could fault them,” she added. “I went to see their operation and it was phenomenal and required everybody to get their heads down and prioritise public service throughout the period. And they did that, spot on. It just showed the true value of the BBC.

“But for me, that means it’s even more important that we make sure the BBC is sustainable in the long term. When you look at platforms like Amazon, Netflix etc, it does make you question whether in the long term, in a modern age, when the media landscape is changing so remarkably, is it sustainable? I think we need to ask that question,” said Donelan.

“It’s no secret that I have been a sceptic for a long time of the licence fee, but as I said before, the approach I take on all policies is to base my decision on evidence, and to also listen.”