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Channel 4 appoints Wiggin media litigator de Silva legal chief following GC Naik’s exit

Channel 4 has appointed Wiggin media litigator Amali de Silva as its new legal and compliance head, following the departure of long-serving general counsel (GC) Prash Naik. 

Legal Business revealed that Naik was set to depart the media company in April, just over three years after his appointment as GC.

De Silva has advised clients across the television and publishing sectors on defamation, privacy and breach of confidence, data protection, copyright, passing-off and contempt of Court, as well as a range of commercial disputes.

She has been with Wiggin for 12 years, where was made up to partner in 2008, having joined from Olswang in 2004. She began her legal career at DJ Freeman, where she remained for over ten years.

De Silva has counted Channel 4 as a client over some years as a private practice lawyer. She successfully defended the television broadcaster against a libel claim by Doctor Andrew Wakefield.

Wakefield sued Channel 4, independent production company 20-20 and reporter Brian Deer, following an investigative report into the doctor’s controversial research on alleged links between the measles virus, autism and bowel disease.

Wakefield was later struck off the General Medical Council’s register in 2010 after it found that research to be fraudulent.

Martin Baker, director of commercial affairs at Channel 4, said de Silva will bring ‘an abundance of media litigation expertise to this important role having advised on a wide range of challenging issues right across the industry including many complex Channel 4 cases.’

‘Her leadership and professionalism will be valuable to the Channel 4 Executive and Board’, he added.

De Silva replaces Naik who had been at Channel 4 for almost 23 years, starting as a legal and business affairs executive and taking on positions including senior lawyer and controller of legal and compliance before landing the GC role in 2014.