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UK Election 2019: Tories threaten Channel 4 as Johnson snubs debate

UK Election 2019: Tories threaten Channel 4 as Johnson snubs Climate Change debate
By Newsdesk Team
European Press Centre Málaga

The Conservative Party is embroiled in a battle it doesn't need with broadcaster Channel 4 over it´s decision to "empty chair" Boris Johnson during its election debate on Climate Change and substitute the PM with an ice sculpture

An offer from Minister Michael Gove offering to take his place was quickly blanked as C4 took pains to explain that the debate was for "leaders"

The Conservative party has written to media legislator Ofcom urging they to take action against Channel 4, the Party has accused the broadcaster of breaking its duty to be impartial and citing other alleged examples of bias. They went on to say that the ice stunt on the PM's empty podium was a "provocative partisan stunt" - while the Labour party has simply accused Mr Johnson of "hiding from scrutiny".
The Conservatives have also threatened to review Channel 4’s broadcasting remit if they win the general election.
The spat escalated on Twitter, as the editor of the Channel news, Ben de Pear, accused the Tories of using Trump-like tactics to intimidate the press. He told James Cleverly, the Tory party chairman, to “stop behaving like [Donald Trump]”, put Boris Johnson alongside other leaders “and stop playing games”. “Don’t refuse [to participate] & then threaten our licence, it’s a slippery slope,” he added.

The Guardian reports that a Tory source has confirmed to them that the party would review Channel 4’s public service broadcasting obligations if Johnson is returned to Downing Street next month. Under the proposal, first reported by BuzzFeed News, they would “look at whether its remit should be better focused so it is serving the public in the best way possible”.

Channel 4’s licence runs until the end of 2024, meaning it would need renewing under any new government if the next parliament lasts a full five years. While the media regulator Ofcom is tasked with reviewing the channel’s output, Channel 4 is state-owned and its existence is underpinned by legislation that could be altered by parliament.

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