The BBC Owns Up As FBC Scandal Deepens!

By Sarawak Report

The BBC has confessed to numerous transgressions of its editorial standards by a number of programmes commissioned from FBC Media about Sarawak and Malaysia.

In a report published today by its governing body, the BBC Trust, the Corporation admitted that the programmes, which were acquired by the BBC for ‘low or nominal cost’ from independent producers, “seriously breached” the BBC’s guidelines on conflicts of interest and the prohibition of sponsorship for current affairs programming.

As a result, the BBC announced it will tighten rules on sponsored programming and has already made a series of changes to the way it acquires and funds programming for its international channel BBC World.

Richard Ayre, who chaired the meeting of the Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee said:

“International audiences must be able to rely on the same integrity and independence in the BBC’s editorial decisions as audiences in the UK.  We have found that several programmes shown on the BBC’s World News channel had been inappropriately sponsored, and in the case of one of the independent producers, FBC Media (UK), there was at least a suggestion that the company had a conflict of interest of which the BBC had been unaware.  The Trust is deeply concerned at this and we very much regret that these programmes failed to live up to the editorial standards we set for the BBC”. [click here for the full report

This shame and apology from the BBC, contrasts remarkably with the statement by the Malaysian Minister, Nazri Abdul Aziz, just last week that the BN Government remains happy with the illegal services that FBC were performing at a cost of RM 94 million to the Malaysian taxpayer! 

He commented to reporters that FBC’s breaches were only a question of ethics, which was no problem because: