THE UK Government is facing calls for transparency over its decision to privatise Channel 4, including publishing the results of a major consultation on the plans.

The announcement last week that UK ministers are proceeding with plans to end public ownership of the network sparked a huge public backlash, with nearly 400,000 signing a petition opposing the move.

Questions have been raised over the motive for the decision, and the UK Government has yet to make responses to a major consultation which took place last year available publicly.

SNP Shadow Culture and Media Secretary John Nicolson MP said: “The UK government’s proposal to privatise Channel 4 is a direct attack on an innovative broadcaster which produces independent, high-quality journalism.

“SNP MPs will do all we can in Westminster to resist the privatisation of Channel 4, but the UK government must be transparent over its approach – including over the consultation which ran last year.

“The bottom line is that the UK government is targeting one of our best and most diverse public service broadcasters due to its own insular and ideological policies.”

Former Channel 4 executive Stuart Cosgrove said Channel 4 had been a “transformative broadcaster”, pioneering independent production and broadening the talent entering television.

He said: “Privatisation has a number of threats. Firstly, it will turn Channel 4 into a for profit company which will mean less creative suppliers and a more predictable schedule.

“Channel 4 news is vulnerable since it occupies a prime slot which does not maximise advertising income.”

He added: “There is clearly a feeling of vengeful policy. Channel 4 has a long history of challenging orthodoxy across the board, including government.”

The consultation on the future of Channel 4, which ended in September last year, received around 60,000 responses,

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said a change of ownership would give the corporation “new freedoms to innovate and grow” and the consultation response would published “shortly”.