Ms McLaughlin was speaking after the British government announced plans to privatise the channel with a £1 billion price tag.
She said had Channel 4 been a commercial channel the show might not have been greenlighted, become a massive success and the benefits to Derry and the wider North would have been lost.
SDLP Foyle candidate Ms McLaughlin said: “Derry Girls has brought joy and entertainment to people around the world and its success would not have been possible without the partnership and support of Channel 4.
“A commercial station may have believed a show about our part of the world would struggle to find an audience, but Channel 4 got behind Lisa McGee’s vision from the very start and have been rewarded with massive success.
“Derry Girls has brought huge attention to our city, it’s enhanced our tourism offering and found a whole new audience who are now interested in our rich history.
“It has made stars of local talent and shown the huge contribution this area can make to the world of entertainment.
“It’s deeply disappointing that the channel that gave Derry Girls its platform will be changed forever.
“This is a short-sighted decision from the British government given that Channel 4 costs the taxpayer nothing.
“It’s not just Derry Girls, over the decades the channel has made a huge contribution to life across these islands by investing in other Irish series like Father Ted and showcasing the diversity of our society through programmes like It’s a Sin that focuses on our LGBT community and other programmes that showcase BAME communities or those with disabilities.
“The decision to privatise Channel 4 reduces the chances of programme like Derry Girls and those that shine a spotlight on other unique stories being made in future and that’s a real shame.
“It appears the current Tory government will not be happy until all public institutions are in private hands and it will be ordinary people that suffer.”Tags: