BBC blocks US firm from using its name

Removed: The Global Eyes website no longer features the BBC logo

The BBC has moved to prevent a US company from using the broadcaster’s name to falsely promote its student work placement business.

Global-Eyes Student Programmes, which is based in New Jersey but has offices in London, promised internships to American students in exchange for money.

The company purports to offer students journalism work experience, trips and accommodation. Until last week it featured the BBC logo prominently on its website, saying it was able to arrange a “London media internship” with the broadcaster over four months for a $2,000 fee.

The BBC became aware of what was being done in its name after it was contacted by a prospective internee to confirm whether or not payment was required. Global-Eyes has since removed the BBC logo and all mention of the broadcaster from its website.

Speaking to Press Gazette this week, Jennie Rettie, BBC recruitment centre manager, insisted the broadcaster had no relationship with Global-Eyes, pointing out that the BBC had its own unpaid work experience schemes in place. She said the global nature of the internet meant false claims had become easier to make.

“We have strict controls on what we do with our logo and how it should be presented. It can be so damaging, because we are a public service and people could see us as being connected to all sorts of dodgy things.

That one was particularly bad because people were asked to send money upfront,” she said.

“We might also have lost out on some really good people who might have thought what they were doing was part of the BBC,” she added.

Erin Garofano, director of the Global-Eyes programme in London, said that her company had a “contact” at the BBC who would “pass on” details of prospective work experience participants.

“We try to get placements with the BBC but can’t guarantee it. We act as a liaison for someone looking to do something with the BBC. We try to talk with the BBC to get them in.

“We don’t have a specific agreement with the BBC but we send our resumés and personal statements to the BBC for consideration alongside all the other candidates they are considering.”

By Wale Azeez

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