UK

Channel 4 Could Be Privatised After Documents Appear To Accidentally Expose Government Plans

24/09/2015 18:35 BST | Updated 24/09/2015 21:59 BST

Ministers have been accused of plotting to privatise Channel 4, after a photographer appeared to catch someone walking into Downing Street clutching documents detailing discussions about the station's sell-off.

The government denied it had any "current" plans to privatise the state-owned broadcaster in June.

But photographer Steve Back this week claimed to have snapped a picture in Downing Street, showing a person entering Number 10 holding a document titled "Assessment of Channel 4 Corporation Options", with text suggesting privatisation was being "particularly" considered.

The file appear to relate to the government's media department.

Back said he didn't know who the person holding the document was, calling them "just another suite [sic] going into Downing St!"

Channel 4 is wholly owned by the government, and mainly funded through advertising. It launched in 1982 and has a public service remit to show programmes which demonstrate "innovation, experiment and creativity" and "appeal to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society".

Plans to sell Channel 4 were drawn up under the coalition government but blocked by Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable.

But the new Tory-majority government's assurance that it has no "current" plans to push ahead with the scheme has not dampened speculation the idea is being floated again to boost Treasury coffers.

Channel 4 could be sold for up to £1 billion, The Daily Mail claims.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not commented on the photo nor its authenticity. The Huffington Post UK contacted DCMS, but had not received a response by the time of publication.

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