VLV opposes Channel 4 Privatisation

VLV has issued a statement in response to the government’s announcement on 4th April that it intends to proceed with plans to privatise Channel 4.

VLV is concerned that the government has disregarded the 60,000 responses it received in response to its consultation on this issue in 2021.

Colin Browne, Chairman of VLV, said, “While we have not seen the detailed proposals yet, we are extremely disappointed that the Government has decided to go ahead with the controversial privatisation of Channel 4, without publishing the results of its consultation, which we believe was overwhelmingly against privatisation. The onus had been on government to provide the evidence and research to demonstrate the need for privatisation, which it has failed to do.”

He added, “VLV strongly opposed the privatisation of C4 and made submissions to the DCMS and to the Lords Communications and Digital Committee. We are concerned that the privatisation of Channel 4 will have a negative impact on audiences and that a private owner will aim to attract the largest possible audience, in order to maximise commercial success, resulting in less distinctive output. We will be scrutinising the Government’s detailed proposals very closely to try to ensure that these risks are minimised.”

Channel 4 is currently delivering its remit in a way which benefits audiences, citizens and the creative community in the UK. VLV believes that its recent performance demonstrates that it would have been able to continue to do so going forward. There is a strong possibility, and perhaps probability, that many of these benefits will be lost, or at least significantly impaired, in private ownership.