“The Sandford St Martin Trust is deeply alarmed at the news that the government is pushing ahead with plans to privatise Channel 4. It is our belief that one of the many risks associated with privatisation would be the demise of religious and ethical content provision on the Channel.
“In its current form Channel 4 has reasonably successfully delivered on its remit to represent and make content relevant to the UK’s diverse faith communities but we believe there is still room for improvement. Channel 4 is responsible for the recent comedy series We Are Lady Parts as well as recent Sandford St Martin Award winners such as the drama It’s a Sin (SSM/Radio Times Readers’ Award winner, 2021) and Ramadan in Lockdown (SSM Trustees Award, 2021) – content made for and by the communities represented. Renowned Channel 4 films such as For Sama (SSM TV/Video Award winner, 2020) and strands such as Dispatches and Unreported World have built international reputations for journalism unafraid of exploring the impact of religion on politics, economics, and culture. If ever there has been a need for such a valued and valuable public service, the time is now.”
“The Sandford St Martin Trust has long argued that to ignore religion is to leave a gaping hole at the heart of public service broadcasting. Because of its current remit Channel 4 has at the frontline of promoting tolerance and understanding across a range of social differences. It must remain there.”
The Rt Revd Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon and Chair of the Sandford St Martin Trust (5 April 2022)