Channel 4 to review editorial priorities

Johnson to oversee exercise

LONDON — Channel 4, the edgy U.K. hybrid pubcaster, is to launch a review of its editorial priorities following pressure from regulators and rivals.

The web, which may come under pressure to be privatized when new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown takes over next week, said the review was designed to “strengthen its public service vision in the digital age.”

Chairman Luke Johnson will oversee the review, which will involve discussion with regulators, government, program-makers and auds.

Channel 4, accused of compromising its credentials as a pubcaster by relying too heavily on reality skein “Big Brother” and sensation-seeking initiatives like “Wank Week,” said it had developed plans for the review during the past several months.

CEO Andy Duncan said the review would seek to answer three important questions — whether the current remit reflected its wide-ranging public role; how the web could update its assessment of delivering the remit — and how it could show more effectively to interested parties that it was delivering public value.

Speaking at a media forum in London June 19 Duncan said: “Our task in the coming months is to convince politicians, policy-makers and the public that Channel 4 has a bright future as a public asset, newly shaped to meet the demands of a dynamic post-digital age and fully accountable to its many stakeholders.”

Last week U.K. media regulator Ofcom raised doubts about C4’s ability to deliver its public service responsibilities.

The watchdog hinted that its governance may need to be changed to ensure that its full program schedule is consistent with its role as a pubcaster.

C4, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this fall, is owned by the state but funded by advertising.

In recent months the broadcaster has been plagued by controversy, most notably when 40,000 Brits complained about racist bullying in January’s run of “Celebrity Big Brother.”

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