Following the news that the culture secretary is expected to launch a consultation into the future of Channel 4 (C4 privatisation would lead to regional cuts, broadcaster warns, 22 June), we urge the government to allow it to convert into a social enterprise. This would enable the broadcaster to maintain its independence and continue to commission programmes that serve a diverse audience, and use its profits to support independent production companies.
The UK is home to 100,000 social enterprises – businesses set up to trade for a social and environmental purpose, which reinvest the majority of their profits to further these aims. They contribute £60bn to the economy, employ 2 million people, and offer a path away from the binary choice of state ownership or privatisation.
We cannot allow valuable national institutions to be sold off to those with the deepest pockets. Channel 4 has a vital role in supporting new talent, ensuring better regional representation and offering an independent, critical voice to those in positions of power. Converting this prized broadcaster into a social enterprise will allow it to showcase what an independent broadcaster, responsible to communities and not just another money-spinner, can look like.
CEO, Social Enterprise UK
• In its enthusiasm to sell off Channel 4, does the government realise that it would be trashing a prize piece of Conservative heritage? It was no less than Margaret Thatcher’s fixer William Whitelaw, a positive mastodon among Tory big beasts, who was its founding father in 1982 and caused a thousand or more television production companies to bloom, many of which have gone on to become major international players.
And as for its former head of news Dorothy Byrne identifying the current prime minister as a “known liar”, well surely she was merely upholding the channel’s standards of factual accuracy.
Former Channel 4 commissioning editor, Dulwich, London
• Have an opinion on anything you’ve read in the Guardian today? Please email us your letter and it will be considered for publication.