Election Explained

Would a Conservative government be able to remove Channel 4’s licence to broadcast?

In the end, the greatest threats to the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV may come from commercial rather than political sources, writes Sean O'Grady

Saturday 30 November 2019 01:34 GMT
MIA: Boris Johnson dodged the channel’s climate debate
MIA: Boris Johnson dodged the channel’s climate debate (Channel 4)

What is the row between Channel 4 and the Conservatives all about?

On one level, verging on the farcical, it is about a melting ice sculpture and a night raid on Channel 4 premises by a commando force headed by Michael Gove and Stanley Johnson.

On a more sinister level, and a somewhat murky one, it has been reported that No 10, or the Tories, or the government more widely has let it be known that Channel 4 may end up being punished for its impudence when the time comes for the state to approve the extension of its licence to broadcast. Channel 4, in other words, could be abolished. An alternative might be full privatisation, though the ownership structure would not necessarily make it a more or less well-regarded and trusted news organisation.

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