Channel 4 privatisation plan is motivated by Tory spite | Letters

The channel has provided some of the most robust scrutiny of government policy throughout its existence, writes Ian Fraser. Plus letters from Bruce Whitehead, Deirdre Davey, Dr Martin Treacy, Stephen Brunt and Chris Roulston

Dorothy Byrne makes a compelling case for keeping Channel 4 in the public sector and exposes the government’s case for privatisation as the ill-informed, dogmatic and spiteful exercise it undoubtedly is (The sell-off of Channel 4 won’t benefit anyone but Boris Johnson, 5 April).

There is, however, a more cynical explanation for selling off the broadcaster at this time. Boris Johnson’s government faces an election within the next two years. Channel 4 News has provided some of the most robust scrutiny of government policy throughout its existence. This is something Johnson cannot tolerate. He has no doubt seen how Victor Orbán has, through media manipulation, constitutional trashing and restricting protest, steered Hungary towards a democracy in name only. This is the sort of position that our wannabe “world king” covets, and he has been prepared to play the same hand in order to achieve it.
Ian Fraser
Newtown, Powys

• Nadine Dorries’ decision to sell Channel 4 is a blatant political attack on media freedom and democracy, right out of the Putin/Lukashenko/Xi playbook. It must be resisted by a mass public movement. Channel 4 is the only real alternative source of news, views and culture; selling it impoverishes the nation. Unions, staff, independent production companies and viewers must unite to defeat this authoritarian and reckless move to flog and neuter what is arguably the best TV station in the world.
Bruce Whitehead
Former Channel 4 News producer

• Surely if the Labour party promised that, when it is elected, it will take back Channel 4 into public ownership without compensation, no business would attempt to buy it?
Deirdre Davey

• An apparent aim of this government seems to be the destruction of Margaret Thatcher’s legacy, piece by piece. Her government was a driving force behind the creation of the European single market – leaving that was step 1. Now it’s step 2: the destruction of the hugely successful Thatcher creation Channel 4. I wonder what the next step will be in obliterating Thatcher’s legacy, as proud British Tory tradition diminishes to a mean-spirited English nationalism.
Dr Martin Treacy
Cardigan, Ceredigion

• The simple reason the government is planning to sell Channel 4 is because it tells the truth. Back in 1984-85 when we as striking miners came off the early morning picket lines, it was the only channel allowed to be on in our strike centre. In addition, Channel 4 news journalists were welcomed among us on the picket lines; BBC and ITV crews were told where to go!
Stephen Brunt
Chesterfield, Derbyshire

• In his otherwise excellent article (We, the public, own Channel 4. And this sell-off isn’t a done deal, 6 April), Armando Iannucci states that we receive Channel 4 free because it is paid for by advertising revenue. Nothing is free: advertising is included in the production costs of everything we buy, and so the consumer funds all commercial TV channels. At least with the BBC licence fee we know how much we are paying and who it is going to.
Chris Roulston
Redhill, Surrey

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