Malaysian govt-FBC-BBC controversy hits UK news

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On the heels of reports about Murdoch’s News of the World scandal, a prominent UK newspaper has featured an investigative article into how a public relations company took millions of ringgit from the Malaysian government to make documentaries about the country for the BBC.

The report in The Independent titled: “Special investigation: TV company takes millions from Malaysian government to make documentaries for BBC… about Malaysia” can be found here.

An investigation by The Independent has established that entries in the Malaysian government’s Supplementary Budget 2010 show that FBC Media (UK) was allocated 28.35m Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) – nearly £6m – for work on a “Global Strategic Communications Campaign” ordered by the Malaysian government in 2009. A similar sum (MYR29.34m) was designated to the company the previous year. Concerns over the arrangements have been raised in the Malaysian parliament.

Documents filed with the United States government’s House of Representatives in 2008 show that FBC Media (UK) contracted the Washington-based American lobbying company APCO Worldwide, which it paid more than US$80,000 (£50,000) in 2008 for the purpose of “raising awareness of the importance of policies in Malaysia that are pro-business and pro-investment as well as [showing] the significance of reform and anti-terrorism efforts in that country”.

The BBC’s guidelines on conflict of interest state: “Independent producers should not have inappropriate outside interests which could undermine the integrity and impartiality of the programmes and content they produce for the BBC.”

This disclosure is bound to put all parties concerned in a very poor light. It also shows how the lines between real journalism and corporate/public relations propaganda have been blurred, with most readers or viewers and even programme producers unable to distinguish between the two.

Needless to say, the money paid to FBC, which portrayed Najib and Taib Mahmud among others in a favourable light, is a scandalous waste of Malaysian public funds.

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WallyG

Sarawak Report has received a copy of the actual letter and contract sent by FBC Media Chairman, Alan Friedman, to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, outlining their illegal PR campaign.

The total cost for FBC’s ‘Global Strategic Communications Proposal’ came to $5 million in the first year alone in a campaign designed to last at least 3 years.

Read more here:
http://hornbillunleashed.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/22626/#more-22626

Alifah

Sebelum FBC, Finas dan Kementrerian Penerangan & Komunikasi dibawah Rais) banyak mengeluarkan video berunsur propanganda BN.

rilakkuma

so we pay Astro $ to watch taxpayers’ funded bbc/discovery/national georaphy etc documentaries (that glorify Malaysia Boleh) ?

why not use the fund to support local independent documentaries ?
I think people like Metrowealth’s David Teo or KRU bros will more than happy to switch movie genres (from slapstick comedies) to making documenatries for Astro given that kind of budget.

On more creative side, may be namewee can even produce nasi lemak 1 malaysia documentary for worldwide circulation to understand our Malaysia Boleh mentality ?

tan, tanjung bungah

Hi everyone,

There’s always some poetic justice, though at a very high cost to Malaysian taxpayers!

Imagine using taxpayers’ money to buy foreign media space and time for glowing reports on the PM and Taib! Very arrogant and overconfident that their link to FBC Media and APCO would not be uncovered!