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Wed Apr 14, 2021, 04:33 PM

Ministers veto reappointment of two women to Channel 4 board

Decision not to renew Uzma Hasan and Fru Hazlitt was made against advice of Channel 4 and Ofcom

The government has vetoed the reappointment of two women to Channel 4’s board of directors, including one of only two women of colour, in a sign ministers are continuing to assert their authority over senior media appointments.

The decision not to renew the boardroom positions of Uzma Hasan and Fru Hazlitt at the state-owned but privately funded broadcaster was made against the advice of both the Channel 4 board and the media regulator, Ofcom.

Both women were recommended for another three-year term on the broadcaster’s board, sources told the Guardian, with such reappointments usually waved through by the government. However, ministers have instead decided to seek new candidates, as part of a wider push that has led to the appointment of Conservative allies to leading media roles.

Last year, the Tory donor Richard Sharp was appointed chairman of the BBC, while Ofcom is recruiting a new chair, with the former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre and the former Tory minister Ed Vaizey in the running.

Although Downing Street has no formal role in the appointments process, sources suggested the decision was influenced by officials working in No 10. The government is increasingly blocking reappointments to public sector roles to bring in new individuals to organisations.

The intervention is also set to renew the debate over a possible privatisation of Channel 4, which has been a favoured proposal of the broadcasting minister, John Whittingdale, for many years. The Guardian understands the reason given for the surprise decision not to renew the two women’s terms in office was the need to fill a “finance” skills gap on the board of directors.


The Tories' near-unopposed degradation of the BBC, especially its news services, extends to the channel that hosts what many feel to be the most trustworthy TV news programme, Channel 4 News.

Given the rightwing slant of most of the print media and their reluctance to pursue issues such as the ongoing PPE purchase scandals and any number of other issues that would be giant headlines if another party perpetrated them, it's little wonder that so many are looking elsewhere - for better or worse - to try to find out what's going on in the country and the world.

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