At what is undoubtedly a turbulent time in UK politics, the government was put under further scrutiny this week by the British Screen Forum. In 2021, a total of 139 companies – identified by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) as ‘stakeholders’ – were asked to submit responses to the controversial government consultation on selling off Channel 4. However, the department has to-date failed to identify respondents or publish and non-confidential submissions.
Through a freedom of information request, the British Screen Forum (BSF) has now published the full list of 139 stakeholders, as well as 33 of the actual responses, which it hopes to add to over the coming weeks.
Publication follows the recent announcement by the new Culture Secretary, Michelle Donelan, that Ministers will now “re-examine the business case for Channel 4, and a series of private roundtables at which BSF members have shared views on the issue with Ministers, Shadow Ministers and Select Committee Chairs.
“We are very well aware that there are a range of views on this issue, including among our members,” said Pete Johnson, Chief Executive for the British Screen Forum. “As an organisation have taken no position on Channel 4’s ownership. That is not changing. However, we do believe that the debate about this important issue should be as open and informed as possible and so this initiative is aimed at insuring that all stakeholders have the fullest possible information with which to frame the debate.”
The BSF provides a hub for 100 senior figures from across the UK screen sectors to come together and discuss important policy issues within the industry. In what are mainly private, member-only events, organisations work together to find consensus on the key issues of the day an – where possible – develop collective policy positions. You can find more information on the forum here.