An investigation by the Daily Telegraph has found that the BBC’s charity, the BBC World Service Trust, is giving more than £15 million a year of UK taxpayers money to fund overseas projects that many would consider non-essential, and to pay more than £5 million a year to its staff, including around £100,000 a year to its director, Caroline Nursey, formerly with Oxfam.

The thrust of the spending is to “change lives through the media” and projects have included a campaign to encourage men in India to wear condoms, a 156-part radio soap-opera in Hindi, and an educational programme on climate change in Africa.

Phillip Davies, a member of the Commons culture committee, commented “You imagine that our foreign aid budget is being spent to save lives by pumping fresh water to a drought-ridden village, not to make soap-operas” MPs have also questioned whether the charity’s relationship with Whitehall departments, business donors and foreign governments undermine the BBC’s independence.

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