Ofcom examines claims of bias at company used by BBC


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The Independent Online

Ofcom, the media regulator, is examining the circumstances surrounding the screening of programmes on Malaysia made by a London-based company allocated millions of pounds by that country to work on a global strategic communications campaign.

As The Independent revealed yesterday, the BBC is looking into programmes made for BBC World News by FBC. In a statement it said: "FBC has now admitted to the BBC that it has worked for the Malaysian government. That information was not disclosed to the BBC as we believe it should have been when the BBC contracted programming from FBC. Given this, the BBC has decided to transmit no more programming from FBC while it reviews its relationship with the company." Ofcom said it would soon decide "whether to launch a full investigation of the content in question under the Broadcasting Code".

FBC's lawyers said the company's programmes had been "fair, balanced and impartial" and had not been "influenced" by FBC's commercial activities which were "separate and distinct" from the production division. It said it had "reviewed" procedures to "ensure that even the merest appearance of bias or overlap is fully avoided".