Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has said the privatisation of Channel 4 will be considered during a government review of public service broadcasting.
Channel 4 was launched in 1982 as a publicly owned, largely commercially self-funded public service broadcaster with a remit to offer “high quality and distinctive programming”.
“I have set up a public service broadcasting review and I can tell you that I will be asking them to look into the future of Channel 4 next week,” Dowden told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
“I think there is a case for considering the best future operating model for Channel 4. That will be one of the things we would consider in legislation in the next session.
“We would also look at video on demand and whether there are further reforms that need to be taking place there.”
Asked whether they were looking at the privatisation of Channel 4, he replied: “That is one of the options that is under consideration, yes.”
Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It – campaigning to ensure public services are not run for profit, criticised the remarks.
She said: “Once again, the government is threatening our public service broadcasters. First it was ‘whacking’ the BBC, now it is talking about selling off Channel 4.
“With the impending launch of GB News our broadcast media is set to become even more biased. So it’s absolutely vital that our public service broadcasters – like Channel 4 – remain well supported in order to inform the public, entertain us and hold the government and the powerful to account.
“But Channel 4 is about so much more than this. From Gogglebox to Peep Show, Countdown to Green Wing, Channel 4 has consistently played a central role in shaping our cultural life. The government should be cherishing, protecting and defending this – not threatening to sell it off. Channel 4 should remain in public hands, where it belongs.”