LONDON — The U.K. government is considering a sale of the publicly owned broadcaster Channel 4, it emerged Friday, when a government official was photographed holding a document identifying privatization as an option.
Culture secretary John Whittingdale, who is in charge of U.K. broadcasting policy, has previously denied that a sale is being considered at present. Last month, he said at the Edinburgh Intl. Television Festival: “The ownership of Channel 4 is not currently under debate. Do I say there are no circumstances in which I would ever consider it? No I don’t.” He added: “What I do say is the remit of Channel 4 is a priority and it’s not going to change.”
Contradicting Whittingdale’s statement, the photographed document indicates that a sale is being considered. It states: “Work should proceed to examine the options for extracting greater public value from the Channel 4 Corporation, focusing on privatization options in particular, while protecting its ability to deliver against its remit.”
An insider with the governing Conservative Party commented: “John Whittingdale is interested and wants to do it,” the Guardian newspaper reported Friday.