The new culture secretary has dismissed doubt over the future of the government’s plans to sell Channel 4, saying the decision is being reviewed “we have yet to agree”.
Predecessor Michelle Donelan, Nadine Dorries; The movement led to controversy as Channel IV of the public domain in its time Boris Johnson’s leadership
Ms Dorries said she did not want to stay with her cabinet position next month ahead of Mr Johnson’s departure, with his successor as PM; Liz Trussnamed Ms Donelan the new Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
He told BBC Radio 4 today that Ms Truss’s government program had “reconsidered the case” for the sale of Channel 4.
“We are primarily looking for the reason for the sale of Channel 4 and it informs us that we still agree with that decision, and this is what I am doing,” he said.
“I’m the type of politician that bases judgments on evidence, bases decisions on hearings, and that’s what I’m doing in the next few weeks.”
“I will go, that he may go with Aulona 4 and all the reason of my brevity.”
Government in the face of heavy criticism – including from senior members of his party and the British media industry – during the news in April that Channel 4 would be privatized.
Ms Dorries said the proposals would “release Channel 4 from the outdated bonds of public ownership”, but Labor said it was “cultural vandalism”.
Appearing on Sky News earlier today, Ms Donelan also addressed the BBC about her license fee, saying she was looking at it “on the fly” as she declined to say whether it could be cut.
He praised the coverage of the Queen’s death and funeral by both the BBC and Sky.
But they also issued a warning to the national broadcaster about the future license fee.
He said: “It’s no secret that I’ve been a long-term skeptic about the license fee and that we need to ensure that the BBC is supported in the long term. So I’m looking into this.”
In January, Ms Dorries announced that the license fee would be frozen at £159 for the next two years until April 2024.
He said he wanted to find a new model for casting before dealing with the current one in 2017 as “it’s all gone”.
The review was due to start before the summer recess of the Commons, but has been thrown into doubt following Mr Johnson’s resignation as Tory leader.
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John McVay, chief executive of the Pact, the trade body for independent TV and film production companies, said he was “delighted” that Channel 4’s business case had been reconsidered.
He said: “The new prime minister has made it clear that growth is his priority.
“The privatization of Channel 4 would do the opposite, endangering the future of thousands of British production companies and endangering the future of a certain industry that has a presence right across the country.”
A spokesperson for Channel 4 also welcomed the decision, saying: “Channel 4 looks forward to working with the new Secretary of State as it examines options for Channel 4.”