The Channel 4 privatisation is a dry run for the crushing of the BBC

Everything about the move is deeply disquieting, and suggestive that it is only the first of a number of moves to shift the media landscape in the government’s interests, argues Sean O’Grady

Tuesday 05 April 2022 23:42
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<p>Nadine Dorries, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport</p>

Nadine Dorries, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport

There are many puzzling, not to say troubling, aspects to the government’s proposal to privatise Channel 4, but the most disturbing is the thought that it is a dry run for the crushing of the BBC.

Legislating the move will test the arguments, probe the strength of opposition, preview tactics in the Lords and by the opposition parties, construct a new looser regulatory framework, and construct bogus or flimsy public service obligations that will more than likely be safely ignored by any new owners.

Losing Channel 4 is bad, but it will embolden and educate ministers about the best way to kill the BBC’s journalism. All have profoundly damaging consequences for democratic debate in a country where much of the print and web-based media is in the hands of right-wing interests.

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