The new UK culture secretary Michelle Donelan has said she’ll “re-examine the business case” for privatising Channel 4.
Her predecessor in Boris Johnson’s administration, Nadine Dorres, had pledged to move the 40-year-old alternative broadcaster out of public ownership arguing that public ownership was holding back the channel from competing with the likes of Netflix and Amazon and was planning legislation for its privatisation.
The move had attracted widespread opposition from Channel 4 executives and the media sector as a whole. There was also concern from within the Tory party itself.
“As the prime minister said, we do need to re-examine the business case and that’s certainly what I’m doing,” Ms Donelan told the BBC.
“We’re looking especially at the business case for the sale of Channel 4 and we’re making sure that we still agree with that decision.”
Ms Donelan, a self-confessed sceptic of the BBC Licence Fee, said she would review the Licence Fee in the next few weeks to consider whether or not it should be scrapped.
“The prime minister spoke in the [leadership] campaign about the importance of decriminalising not paying the licence fee – we know that it particularly impacts women. We know the ramifications of that,” she said.
“These are big, big issues that we should be questioning and looking at again.”
There was praise for the broadcaster’s coverage of the death of Her Majesty the Queen, which she said underlined how important it was to make the corporation “sustainable” in a changing media landscape.