The British government secretly funded Reuters in the 1960s and 1970s at the behest of an anti-Soviet propaganda unit linked to British intelligence. The money was concealed by using the BBC to pass on the money, declassified government documents show.
Historical documents released by the Foreign Office shed new light on how a secretive team of British civil servants tried to influence the international media during the Cold War.
In one intriguing episode the UK government in the late 1960s persuaded the British-based news agency Reuters to set up a reporting service in the Middle East, funding it surreptitiously via the BBC.
This was contrived by the Information Research Department (IRD), a shadowy section created within the Foreign Office in 1948 to fight the propaganda battle with the Soviet Union. It covertly produced anti-communist material.
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