According to a report, the Government shouldn’t have held a consultation on Channel 4’s future before they created a vision for public broadcasting.
According to a House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee report, the Government failed to “take the correct approach” when it declared that privatization was the preferred option.
Lord Gilbert, Chairman of the Committee, stated: “It’s difficult to come up with a conclusion on Channel 4’s ownership without understanding the future public-service broadcasting landscape.”
In The Future Of Channel 4 the report stated that the current debate over the future of TV broadcaster is a binary one between privatisations and maintaining the status quo.
The report stated that instead of focusing on Channel 4, it should establish our goals before looking at how they could be realized.
It was stated that both potential risks and opportunities need to be “weighed up”, with much based on the willingness of the government to ensure Channel 4’s public service mandate and contributions to the creative industries are protected.
Channel Four’s news program is being privatized by the Government.
Lord Gilbert chairs the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee
The committee was apparently’surprised’ that Channel 4 Corporation (C4C), in oral and written evidence, did not describe potential risks or benefits to privatisation.
Lord Gilbert stated that he was grateful for Channel 4 and the Government’s sincerity when pursuing the best future possible for the brand. But, Channel 4’s board should not be afraid to explore all avenues of achieving its goals, even privatisation.
“Similarly, it would be negligent of the Government to not think about possible reforms that might make Channel 4 sustainable without a change in ownership.”
According to the report, privatisation would have the main effect of increasing investment in programming, content partnership and technology via capital access. This will allow Channel 4 to increase its international ambitions and diversify its revenue streams.
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The report said that privatisation was not the only method by which Channel 4 might access capital.
According to the committee, Channel 4 needs to be strengthened in its support for small, medium, and diverse regional production companies regardless of who they are owned. It should also ensure that the long-term sustainability of the channel is not compromised by the large production firms.
Lord Gilbert said: “The Government must justify its decision to own Channel 4 in the context of a compelling and clear vision for public service broadcasting’.
White papers, which are government policy documents that outline future legislation proposals and can include drafts of Bills that are being considered.