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Microsoft, Red Cross and UN sucked into global news fixing row
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| Microsoft has been sucked into the row surrounding a London-based media
| company currently under investigation by broadcasters for making editorial
| programmes without declaring it had a commercial relationship with some of
| those it featured.
| Both the BBC and the US-owned broadcaster CNBC are investigating FBC Media
| following an investigation by The Independent which showed it had made
| numerous factual programmes about Malaysia after being allocated millions of
| pounds by the country's government to promote it.
| This newspaper has evidence that Microsoft was "guaranteed" coverage on a
| flagship programme which FBC was commissioned to make for CNBC â which is
| screened in Britain â for a major launch that the global technology company
| was planning in Europe. CNBC recently suspended the show, World Business,
| pending the outcome of its investigation.
| The Independent has seen a nine-page letter written to Microsoft's senior
| communications managers, in which FBC promised coverage of its opening of the
| European Microsoft Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany, and a second project
| in St Petersburg, Russia.
| The document referred to World Business under the heading "FBC Guaranteed
| Distribution Placement". It told Microsoft: "Our flagship programme, World
| Business, is a weekly half-hour business news magazine, which covers the
| trends shaping business, particularly from a European perspective.
| It offered Microsoft "guaranteed" coverage of the St Petersburg event on Tech
| Watch, a monthly technology programme it produced for airlines to show as part
| of their in-flight entertainment.
| It is unclear whether UNHCR or Red Cross knew of the Microsoft/FBC PR campaign
| associated with this initiative. In a statement, Microsoft said it had had a
| commercial relationship with FBC Media from 2003 until March this year. "Where
| FBC guaranteed that news items would appear in their World Business programme,
| we understood this was based on the content meeting FBC editorial selection
| criteria in line with their agreements with CNBC and other broadcasters and
| subject to final editing before transmission," it said.
| Microsoft began its commercial relationship with media firm FBC in 2003. A
| nine-page strategy document written in 2004 obtained by The Independent
| contains excerpts which show that when the technology giant launched its
| European Microsoft Innovation Centre in Germany in 2004, FBC drew up a plan
| for Microsoft to target broadcasters with its "corporate messaging" and gave a
| guarantee to Microsoft that it would "place" coverage of the launch event on
| World Business, the weekly programme it made for the CNBC network. CNBC has
| suspended the show and is investigating FBC.
Gates does then same thing for his latest monopolistic scams.
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