The Spectator, by good journalistic digging – and persevering with a freedom of information request – has found that the BBC has been boosting its coffers by applying on a regular basis to the EU for grant funds. The article homes in on the huge potential conflict of interest, and points out that Lord Patten, the BBC chairman – the man thus in charge of BBC impartiality – is already in the sway of the EU because he receives a pension from it of an estimated £100,000 a year.
Richard North, on the EU Referendum website, has been following through and filling the gaps, and found that sums involved – though a fleabite in terms of the BBC’s overall revenues of £3.65bn a year – have added up to more than £20m for rafts of projects in the period 2007-12.
The money, it seems, is mainly channelled through the BBC’s charity arm, the body formerly known as the World Service Trust, and now with the title of ‘BBC Media Action – ‘transforming lives through the media around the world’.
In fact, a moment’s digging shows that among the main goals of ‘Media Action’ are concerted efforts to spread propaganda about climate change, sinisterly but clumsily masked as objective research, as this faux sociological exercise in Asia reveals. The goal is clearly to brainwash vast swathes of Asia – in line with the EU’s own collective thinking – that climate change is adversely affecting their lives and political action needs taking to combat it.
Another scheme for which BBC ‘Media Action’ successfully applied for money – to the tune of almost £4m – wasEuropean Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. This is the EU’s own definition of the Orwellian scheme:
“The ENP is a broad political strategy which has the ambitious objective of strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of Europe’s neighbourhood in order to avoid any dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its direct neighbours.”
That sounds like spreading pro-EU propaganda. Neither the BBC nor the EU are specific about how the BBC’s money has been used, but it seems that one goal is the training of journalists in the Ukraine. Would that be so that they can tell their fellow citizens how important links with the EU are? Newswatch has found in its latest report that a constant feature of coverage of the tension in the Ukraine by the BBC Today programme during the autumn was the characterisation of a battle between those who supported the EU and Russia.
The BBC, as it always does, denies flatly that its programme-making activities are affected in any way by the receipt of such funds. But Kate Hoey MP told the Spectator:
‘I have grave concerns about the bias of the BBC when it comes to EU matters. I find the whole thing shocking. The lack of transparency is unjustified. Why does it seem so worried about people knowing where it gets its money? What has the BBC got to hide other than knowing that many of us don’t trust them on EU matters and the need for a referendum on Britain’s EU membership?’
Ms Hoey adds that she has concerns that the BBC ‘very rarely’ reports Labour MPs’ views on Europe. She says:
‘Even Today in Parliament [on Radio 4] always tries to convey Tory splits on Europe, and this doesn’t help the perception of an EU bias. There are Labour MPs with strong views on Europe as well. It doesn’t help that the BBC very rarely reports these views.’