The Vandalism of Channel 4

Posted on April 5, 2022

Channel 4 is being sold by the government. So why would that be? It is state-owned so you could argue that it costs the taxpayer money. The problem with that argument is it doesn’t cost the taxpayer a penny. It is independently financed with over 90% of its resources coming from advertising.

Why Sell it Off?

So why would the government want to sell it? Well, one of the towering political figures of our times, Nadine Dorries, says the sale will allow it to compete with Netflix and Amazon with the money paid for it, used for levelling up. A ‘spit your cornflakes out’ moment if ever there was one.

Anyone who has made a reluctant shift from BBC News to C4 News in recent years knows why the government wants to sell it. The BBC has found itself increasingly curtailed by the threat of privatisation in recent years. I think this is what has led it into a minefield of impartiality issues and high-profile departures who feel they no longer have an independent voice. Anyone in the BBC who is openly critical of government policy is deemed left-wing or even anti-establishment.

Switching Channels

The confusion within the BBC has led to serious news viewers switching to Channel 4 news for independent views on current affairs. For those of us brought up to believe that the BBC is a solid and reliable source of news, it has not been easy, especially since the government would like to sell the BBC off as well.

In my opinion, putting former Banker, Tory donor and Brexiteer, Richard Sharp, in charge of the BBC hasn’t helped but it could have been worse. Johnson offered his mate, Charles Moore, a thumping pay rise to take the BBC gig, with staff at the Beeb breathing a huge sigh of relief when he turned it down. As a license fee Refusenik and former editor of The Telegraph, it is widely thought that any lingering independence at the BBC would have disappeared.

Let’s go back to C4. I can’t believe this is anything other than what has been dubbed cultural vandalism. In a democracy, any government of any colour, needs to be held to account. They are voted in by the people. We need to know what a government is doing badly. If you take away the right of a news broadcaster to be independent, democracy has gone.

Acting With Impunity

There have been instances during the pandemic where the public believe that it is wrong to be critical of government policy. Of course, during a national crisis, we should unify. However, by allowing a dire situation like Covid to shut us up, can’t we see what we are doing to ourselves? We are simply giving the government carte blanche to do as they please. Covid impunity was an opportunity that Boris Johnson and his cabinet took with all the relish of the finest carpetbaggers.

They were given an inch and they took a mile. Dorries is selling off C4 because she knows she can get away with it. People who are conservatives by default have been convinced that C4 is some sort of damaging leftist cult. Others believe that just because it is being sold, it won’t curtail its independence. Well, that very much depends on who it is being sold to, doesn’t it?

The government probably knows the buyer already.

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