Sir Christopher Bland, former chairman of the BBC and London Weekend Television, has called for Channel Four to be privatised.
A number of options for the channel have been discussed recently, with culture secretary Andy Burnham yesterday calling for a link-up with BBC Worldwide.
A merger with Five has also been suggested.
But, in yesterday’s Times letters page, Bland wrote: ‘Channel Four should now be privatised, leaving the market to decide whether a merger with Five makes sense.
‘ITV should be relieved of its remaining public service obligations, and of the CRR [contract rights renewal] constraint .
‘National and international news will continue to be provided, unsubsidised, by all commercial channels, as Sky and CNN have demonstrated.
‘And regional news and news in the devolved nations should be left to the BBC and the market.”
Bland, LWT chairman from 1983 to 1994, and BBC chairman from 1996 to 2001, was chairman of the BT group from 2001 to 2007.