Labour and Channel 4 stars today accused the Government of deciding to sell the broadcaster for £1billion because of a ‘petty vendetta’ against its left-wing news bulletins and personal attacks on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Critics have claimed Nadine Dorries’ pledge to take it out of public ownership is ‘payback’ for ‘biased coverage’, including of Brexit and climate change, with one hysterical MP branding it ‘fascism’.
Labour has called the decision ‘cultural vandalism’ – but some viewers have pondered whether a new owner might improve on shows such as Naked Attraction — an uncensored nude dating show repeatedly branded the ‘worst programme ever shown on TV’.
Ministers deny they are pursuing any vendetta, with Ms Dorries pushing ahead with plans to sell the broadcaster in what will be the biggest disposal of a state-owned asset since Royal Mail in 2013.
She tweeted last night: ‘I have come to the conclusion that government ownership is holding Channel 4 back from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon’.
US TV giants Paramount and Discovery are said to be vying with ITV and Sky to buy Channel 4 for £1billion and take it out of public ownership amid years of rows over its treatment of the Conservatives.
Its star presenter Jon Snow, who retired last year after 32 years, was accused of chanting ‘f**k the Tories’ at Glastonbury while Channel 4 News has been criticised for years over its coverage, most recently of and climate change.When secured a 80-seat majority in 2019, boos rang out in the studio during C4’s live news coverage of the general election hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell said today that the decision was a ‘petty little vendetta against Channel 4’ that will ‘serve no good for the British public’, adding: ‘It doesn’t make any sense.I can’t find many people are in favour of it’.
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, tweeted: ‘The Channel 4 move is right out of the Orban playbook and timed to make it blatant. Part of their purpose is to wind up ‘liberals’.’ Disgraced Labour MP Claudia Webbe, now an independent, tweeted: ‘This is not freedom or independence – its the seedbed of fascism. Tory privatisation of Channel 4 is revenge for all the good journalism they did’.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is pushing ahead with plans to sell the broadcaster in what will be the biggest disposal of a state-owned asset since Royal Mail nine years ago.Some hope that it will see the end of shows such as Naked Attraction, hosted by Anna Richardson
Viewers hope that a new Channel 4 could look to revamp its coverage and go back to its roots
Labour supporters including disgraced MP Claudia Webbe and Alastair Campbell compared the move to fascism and Viktor Orban
The Government has given the green light to the privatisation of Channel 4 after rows over funding and the balance of its coverage