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Anti-privatisation campaigners to protest against Channel 4 sell-off

ANTI-PRIVATISATION campaigners will gather outside the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) headquarters in London today to demand that Channel 4 remains publicly owned.

The government will soon be publishing a white paper on the future of the channel’s ownership, with rumours that privatisation is on the cards.

The demonstration, organised by We Own It, will hand deliver an open letter to DCMS signed by campaigners, industry trade unions and politicians at noon.

The letter highlights the risks privatisation poses to jobs outside London and calls for the DCMS to make a public commitment to safeguard Channel 4’s future as a publicly owned broadcaster.

We Own It lead campaigner Tom Morton said: “The government is trying to act like they are doing Channel 4 a favour, saying that privatisation is the only way that it can compete with Netflix and Amazon.

“But this is nonsense. Channel 4 isn’t struggling. In fact, it’s performing above and beyond expectations.

“The real reason for privatisation is so that the government can yet again take public assets and put them in private pockets and the people who will pay the price for it are working people and small businesses in the regions and nations outside London.”

Equity general secretary Paul W Fleming warned that a sell-off would mean “asset-stripping and narrowing of out already imbalanced media landscape.

He said: “This ideological obsession distracts from the debate we should have: how to renew the values of public service broadcast — taking on the increasing digital divide created by subscription on demand, investing more in the nations and regions, and ensuring stable terms and conditions for those who make work.

“Let’s have public service broadcast run by audiences and its workforce, not billionaires and big business.”

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