Nadine Dorries 'doesn't understand' Channel 4 says former editor
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The Culture Secretary said she would not “justify” the channel’s news programme after presenter Jon Snow was accused of shouting “f*ck the Tories” at Glastonbury in 2017, where he was pictured with music fans.
“They don’t do themselves any favours sometimes the news programme,” Ms Dorries told MPs on the digital, culture, media and sport select committee.
“I have been on Channel 4 a number of times. It’s edgy.
“I’m not going to justify a news programme who’s anchor went out shouting obscenities about the Conservative Party.”
Jon Snow has previously said he cannot remember whether he joined in the chants.
In a statement released at the time, he said: “After a day at Glastonbury, I can honestly say I have no recollection of what was chanted, sung or who I took over 1000 selfies with.”
Mr Snow also received backlash for bias when covering the UK’s departure from the EU.
He said he had “never seen so many white people in one place” when reporting on a pro-Brexit rally on March 29, 2019.
He was cleared of wrongdoing by the media watchdog Ofcom after 2,644 people complained about his comments.
Ms Dorries this morning defended the Government’s decision to move ahead with the broadcaster’s privatisation, saying it was her “right to do so”.
The broadcaster has been publicly owned since its creation in 1982 by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher, and is entirely funded by advertising.
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The Secretary of State announced plans to sell off Channel 4 last month after completing a public consultation on the move.
The Mid Bedfordshire MP said the pool of advertising budget had “reduced considerably”, justifying the decision to sell off Channel 4.
Ministers have pointed to the growth of platforms such as Netflix and Amazon for how the media industry had changed.
Ms Dorries said that, once privatised, Channel 4 would still be expected to produce news programmes.
“Part of its public service remit will be to entertain educate, inform, but also part of that public service remit is to be impartial,” she said.
“And so I don’t see a day when Channel 4 doesn’t have news but it has to be impartial because that is part of its public service broadcast remit.”
Ms Dorries added she “can’t see a scenario” in which a privately owned Channel 4 would become partly or wholly subscription based.
She told the committee: “As a public service broadcaster that is not on the table, that is just not on the cards at all. I can’t see a scenario in which that would happen.”
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