The government has launched a consultation into whether Channel 4 should be privatised – despite having made no good arguments for why it’s needed or how audiences would benefit. The Media Reform Coalition, with input from a range of other organisations including We Own It, Voice of the Listener and Viewer, and the British Broadcasting Challenge, have created a briefing document to help individuals and organisations respond. The consultation closes on Sept 14th 2021.
Despite having become more commercialised since the 1990s, Channel 4 still plays a vital role in the media landscape in the UK. The consultation is focused on the question of privatisation, and the answers and evidence provided in the briefing largely defend the organisation as it currently is.
However, as Tom Mills described in Tribune Magazine, the Media Reform Coalition believes that a transformed Channel 4 could return to the pioneering ethos of its early years. In our own response to the consultation, we will be emphasising the possibilities for transforming the Channel – creating a new funding model, mutualising it so that it can never be sold off, and using digital technologies to create more democratic and participatory relationships with its audiences. If you would like to know more about these ideas, take a look at our BBC and Beyond campaign.