Controversial proposals to sell off Channel 4 are set to be dropped from the forthcoming Media Bill following months of limbo.
Earlier this year, Channel 4 privatisation was formally added to the Government’s agenda as part of a white paper on the future of media in the UK.
The Financial Times reports that the decision to drop the sale of Channel 4 has been signalled by Downing Street to the media industry and Whitehall. The broadcaster has faced half a dozen privatisation proposals since it was launched in 1982. The recent push to sell off Channel 4 was being driven by former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.
Plan to privatise Channel 4 were met with stiff opposition from industry, viewers and from Channel 4 itself.
Meanwhile, other items on the white paper remain in limbo while the government decides which pieces of policy and legislation to take forward through the parliamentary process. These include introducing a new prominence regime for on-demand television, making changes to the local TV licensing regime to enable the extension of the local TV multiplex licence until 2034 and measures relating to long-term commitments on cross-border broadcasting on the island of Ireland.