THE UK’s Culture Secretary has confirmed that Channel 4 could be sold off in the next three years to “provide a sustainable future for the broadcaster”.

Speaking at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, Oliver Dowden said the privatisation of the broadcaster is “on the table” as part of a government review.

Asked if the channel could be sold off before the end of this parliament, he told the committee: “We have not ruled that out, no.”

The National:

The channel was launched in 1982 as a publicly owned, but commercially funded, broadcaster.

Nationalisation campaign group We Own It warned the Tories are “threatening our public service broadcasters”.

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The group’s director Cat Hobbs said: “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."

Last month the UK Government stepped in to veto the appointment of two women to Channel 4’s board of directors.

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The decision not to renew the positions of Uzma Hasan and Fru Hazlitt came despite conflicting advice from the Channel 4 board and media watchdog Ofcom.

The pair had been recommended for another three-year term on the board – but ministers chose to seek new candidates amid a push leading to more Tory allies taking top media roles.

Former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre is up for the Ofcom chair position, and Conservative donor Richard Sharp was appointed BBC chairman.

A spokesperson for Dowden said at the time: “Last year, the culture secretary reviewed a number of proposed reappointments to the Channel 4 board and, following the due process, decided the moment was right to bring in new people and expertise. He thanks the outgoing board members for their hard work. The recruitment process for the roles is ongoing and no decisions have been made.”