Sky distances itself from Home Office with refund

BSkyB has refunded the Home Office the 400,000 it contributed to eight-part series UK Border Force because it wanted viewers to be confident the programme was “wholly independent”.

BSkyB has refunded the Home Office the £400,000 it contributed to eight-part series UK Border Force because it wanted viewers to be confident the programme was “wholly independent”.

The satellite broadcaster is aiming to distance itself from the controversy surrounding the government’s spending on programming, which critics say is “propaganda”.

Last month it was revealed that Government departments had spent almost £2m on advertiser-funded programming, leading the Conservatives to label such initiatives as propaganda.

Media regulator Ofcom is investigating whether another Home Office-funded show, Beat: Life on the Street, an ITV series following police community support officers, breaches the broadcasting code. UK Border Force goes behind the scenes at Heathrow and Calais border controls.

Sky says it will now “fully fund” the programme, and the money had been paid back to the Government.

A Sky spokesman says: “Sky has made the decision to fund and broadcast the series without sponsorship from the COI. We commissioned the programme and we stand by it 100%.

“We decided that we’d rather go ahead without the sponsorship than let any perception take hold that we are not wholly independent.”

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