Supposedly unbiased programs at the BBC were sponsored for millions by vested interests!

Many supposedly unbiased, objective BBC documentary programs have been sponsored by vested interests.

Programs about development were sponsored by the Malaysian government to the tune of £17 million. During the Arab spring a program was sponsored by Mubarak’s government. Another program about climate change was sponsored by Envirotrade – a carbon trading company based safely for taxes in Mauritius.  The BBC’s alarmist bias about climate change is notorious but sponsorship by organisations making millions from carbon trading goes a long way to explaining their “objectivity”. The broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, is to investigate.

One media company which made partisan programs for the BBC, FBC Media (UK), has gone into administration. “FBC, incorporated in 1998, was a vehicle for high-profile figures led by founder and chairman Alan Friedman.”

The Independent:

The BBC has owned up to a “nominal fee” programming scandal in which viewers of 15 editorial programmes were hoodwinked by “serious” conflicts of interest of programme makers and a failure to declare that documentaries had outside sponsors.

( Update: The BBC Trust Report is here )

The programmes were made for “low or nominal cost” but many were heavyweight documentaries on controversial environmental issues and the BBC Trust, the corporation’s governing body, said today it was “deeply concerned” by the findings. Mark Thompson, the director general of the BBC, has ordered the organisation to tighten its systems for commissioning current affairs programmes. The broadcasting regulator Ofcom announced today that it was launching an investigation into the affair.

Eight of the breaches relate to FBC Media (UK), a London-based production company whose working practices have been uncovered in a long-running investigation by The Independent. FBC produced programmes for the BBC about Malaysia without declaring that it had been allocated £17m by the Malaysian government to carry out a global strategic communications campaign. The company produced seven BBC programmes on Malaysia, four of them for the series “Develop or Die”.

The BBC also found that FBC had breached programme guidelines on a programme it made on the subject of Egypt this March during the Arab Spring uprisings. The Independent has established that FBC has worked for the regime of the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. ……

The Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee warned that documentary makers may have been unduly influenced by their financial backers. “There was a suggestion that commercial, financial or other interests may have influenced the editorial judgments in these programmes,” it concluded. …..

One of the programmes in breach of guidelines was “Taking the Credit” made by for BBC World on the subject of Africa and climate change by the award-winning British production company Rockhopper television. The Trust found that the programme had effectively been sponsored by the Envirotrade organisation, despite the fact that current affairs programmes are prohibited from using sponsorship. Envirotrade was featured in a positive light in the programme but “viewers were unaware that there was a funding arrangement in place,” said the Trust report.

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