[2021] Motion 66 Defending public service broadcasting and saving Channel 4 from privatisation

Composited motion

Received from:

Congress believes that Channel 4’s publisher-broadcaster model and unique public service broadcaster (PSB) remit has been integral to the success of the British television industry in the nearly 40 years since it was launched. While state-owned, it is 90 per cent funded by advertisements, at no cost to the taxpayer, with a remit to be innovative, producing content ranging from Channel 4 News, Dispatches and Unreported World to It’s a Sin, Gogglebox and Paralympics.

Despite the pandemic, C4 reported a record surplus; opened new Leeds headquarters; established creative hubs in Glasgow and Bristol; spent half its money outside London; supported 10,600 jobs and contributed almost £1bn to the UK economy.

Congress believes the privatisation proposal makes no economic sense, is being driven by ideology and would be an act of cultural vandalism.

Congress fears any sale would weaken C4’s specific remit to include under-represented voices and its award-winning, hour-long C4 News would not survive.

Congress believes that the pandemic has shown how vital it is to have sources of reliable, accurate information and news, as shown by increased viewing figures for our PSBs.

Congress notes with concern the government is being advised on the future of PSB by a secretive panel made up of many of its own supporters, not set up under Cabinet Office guidelines.

Congress instructs the General Council to campaign in support of public service broadcasting and against any sale or merger of C4, and for full transparency on the activities of the government’s PSB panel.

National Union of Journalists