Channel 4 head of news Dorothy Byrne has said that immoral men should “be frightened” into treating women properly.

The veteran journalist delivered a withering attack on the political class and abusive men at the annual MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Wednesday.

Following the damning speech, in which she revealed she had been sexually assaulted by a former colleague, Byrne has spoken of the need to make men fearful of mistreating women.

2019 Edinburgh TV Festival
Dorothy Byrne, before delivering this year’s MacTaggart Lecture at the 2019 Edinburgh TV Festival (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Channel 4 news chief said that she would not disclose names of specific offenders known to her in the industry, as it was for the victims of other abuses to speak out themselves when they felt comfortable.

However, the media boss said she would use her platform to scare lecherous men into better behaviour.

She said: “If there are men who don’t have the morality to behave properly towards women, we have got to frighten them into behaving properly towards women.

“You think you got away with it for 20 or 30 years.

“I would say to any dirty bastard now, just don’t do it, because we’ll somehow get you.”

Byrne also targeted Boris Johnson and Donald Trump for their alleged disregard for facts in their rhetoric.

The Channel 4 news boss said that although journalists were not being persecuted like in brutal regimes, in Western democracies they were being ignored, and the truth was being set aside for political gain.

She said: “We’re losing the central primacy of truth. If we don’t accept both as politicians and journalists that that’s what we are aiming at, then we are lost.

“In evil regimes the first things they do is arrest or kill the journalists. What’s happening here is they are not arresting or killing us, they are just trying to ignore us.”

Byrne added that news organisations needed to be more vigorous in tackling the existential issue of climate change, and think more broadly, deeply and radically.

She said: “We probably need to change the way that capitalism operates.

“We need to talk about that. What are the ways that we could change the concept of constant growth being a virtue to save the planet.”