Channel 4 is a much-loved national institution and cultural asset. Since its creation in 1982, Channel 4 has produced award-winning shows with significant cultural impact, from Peep Show to It’s A Sin. The channel’s news and investigative journalism has been ground breaking – helping to reveal wrongdoing and seek justice for victims. As such, the Government’s announcement of its intention to privatise Channel 4 is a deeply concerning move, which threatens to damage a great British institution and the wider independent creative sector.

Channel 4’s publicly-owned operating model has been commercially successful and culturally valuable for four decades. Publicly-owned but commercially-funded, the channel is self-sufficient and has been expanding its financial surplus – demonstrating it has no burden on the taxpayer. Its unique structure and remit has allowed it to strengthen our domestic creative sector, purchasing shows from independent producers and investing in the creative industries around the country.

But as this latest attempt to sell-off a public broadcaster shows, the Achilles heel of this successful model is that Channel 4’s status can all too easily be altered by the Government of the day. That is why at the Co-operative Party, we don’t just want to save Channel 4 in the present – we want to protect its future too. That’s why we’re calling for Channel 4’s publicly-owned status to be made permanent in the form of a mutual model.

A mutual business, owned by the viewing public, creatives, employees, and under-represented voices, would be a model that serves the British public and promotes the independence of Channel 4. This new co-operative model should be established as a trust, which enshrines the channel’s ongoing commitment to public service broadcasting.

A mutual model of public ownership would protect Channel 4 from unsympathetic governments, helping to maintain its operational and creative independence. It would increase the relationship with the viewing public, helping to shape innovative content that fulfils its public service remit. Most importantly, it would protect the channel from further privatisation that would remove the channel from public ownership and place it in the hands of distant shareholders.

As co-operators, we are committed to protecting the publicly owned status of Channel 4. We know a mutually owned Channel 4 will protect the institution’s independence, great content, and support for independent creative producers. Ongoing public ownership will help ensure that audiences are delighted, educated, and inspired for another four decades and beyond.

If you agree, please sign our petition to keep Channel 4 in public ownership.