Biased BBC has been looking at TVE - The Television Trust for the Environment - one of the organisations involved in the illicit sponsoring of BBC output, and profiles, in somewhat overheated fashion, its former boss, Robert Lamb.
Lamb has described some of TVE's work here.
The founding fathers at Carlton (formerly Central TV) and UNEP set up the Trust to be a broker between the public service programmers and enlightened donor agencies that still believe the issues are more important than public relations.
On the same page there is this:
Our main vehicle is the weekly Earth Report series on BBC World TV reaching 65 million homes. It is a genuinely multi-media attempt to reach the share of viewers we achieved in the 1980s through the satellite broadcasts, secondary carriage on 10 cable buyers, radio programmes to over 200 stations, actuality and quick time video on the web and a complete programme back-up service via the web, e-mail and fax. Earth Report even has its own prime-time slot on China Central TV to 300 million homes.
Earth Report could at first glance be mistaken for the Earth Reporters series that was criticised by the BBC Trust in its report on illicit sponsorship. However, I think in fact this is another series entirely. TVE's website has disappeared from the internet, but its YouTube channel is extant and the Earth Report programmes can be seen there (for example this or this). I would urge readers to look at some of these films, which are amazing - pure propaganda. The Earth Report films seem to be of an older vintage than Earth Reporters, going at least as far back as 1996, so I conclude that this is a different series to the one noted by the BBC Trust - perhaps a precursor. Either way, the extent of illicit sponsorship appears to be greater than previously thought. It is possible that the BBC has been engaged in this kind of activity for as long as fifteen years.
I'm also interested to see the content of one of these programmes ("Go With the Flow") being reproduced on the BBC website, again with no notice that this is sponsored content. In fact, it is unlikely that the BBC website is able to take sponsored content, so again the scope of the scandal is greater still.
[Updated to show that Lamb is no longer TVE's boss]