The BBC Trust examined the documentaries by a London-based production company and found that in some cases they had been financed partly by public relations clients, including multinational companies and governments. This followed an investigation by The Independent newspaper.
Eight pieces in particular were financed by the Malaysian government, including one positive about the country's palm oil industry. One on Egypt's uprising was financed in part by a company doing work for the Egyptian government.
The Trust, which oversees BBC's standards of editorial quality, said the documentaries themselves did not violate BBC's requirement for impartiality. But their financing in some cases violated policy and in others raised questions of conflicts of interest.