BBC charity sacked six over sexual misconduct

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A BBC charity says it has sacked six people for sexual harassment or for watching pornography on work computers.

BBC Media Action said the incidents happened overseas in the past 10 years and those sacked were all foreign nationals.

The international development charity has received £70m over the past five years from the UK's Department for International Development (DfID).

The government agency said it had no record of the sexual misconduct.

It comes as international charities face closer scrutiny following claims of sexual misconduct by Oxfam staff in Haiti.

DfID has asked all UK charities working overseas to provide assurances about their safeguarding and disciplinary policies and procedures.

BBC Media Action said it had responded, giving those assurances.

"We have reviewed all cases in the last 10 years involving or potentially involving sexual misconduct. Six such cases have been identified over this period, all of which were investigated," a statement said.

"In two of these, no grounds were found to take any disciplinary action.

"In the remaining four, formal disciplinary action was taken. None involved beneficiaries and we are not aware of any child protection issues. A total of six people were dismissed for sexual harassment or for watching pornography on work computers."

The charity said it would continue to examine policies and processes around safeguarding and whistleblowing "and take action to strengthen them further wherever necessary".

It added: "We want to foster a culture where everyone working at BBC Media Action can recognise abuse, knows what they can do to help prevent it, and where anyone with an allegation is heard."

BBC Media Action is an independent charity that is not funded by the BBC licence fee. It trains journalists and produces programmes in countries across the world.

A DfID spokesman said: "DfID does not have a record of any sexual misconduct allegations relating to BBC Media Action on our Counter Fraud and Whistleblowing system."

Media caption,
Aid organisations have vowed to do more to protect those they were set up to help

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