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Monday, 10 October 2011

Freedom of Information - how difficult can it be?

Email received:

Please be advised that the FOI Act provides a right of access to recorded information held by a public authority. Public authorities are not required to answer questions if  this would mean creating new information or giving an opinion or judgement that is not already recorded.  We are therefore not obliged to provide examples of questions that would be answered under FOIA; regarding the programme specified below.

If you wish to request recorded information held by the BBC, please clarify what information you require.

You must provide enough information to enable us to identify and locate the information requested. You may wish to refer to guidelines from the Information Commissioner's Office on how to make a request

Yours sincerely,
The Information Policy & Compliance Team
BBC Freedom of Information
Room 2252, BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS

Email sent:

Many thanks for your very prompt but anonymous email.

My problem is this: I have requested several items of recorded information held by a public authority, viz The BBC, yet every time I do so my "right of access" is prohibited as the information I require falls foul of your "journalism, art or literature" veto.

All of my requests have been for factual information, and at no point have I asked for an "opinion or judgement that is not already recorded".

Perhaps my use of the word "question" was incorrect. Please allow me to rephrase my original enquiry:

To save us both a lot of time and emails, I would be grateful if you would outline for me exactly what information you CAN provide about this programme with, perhaps, some examples of the information that could be supplied by your department that is not connected with "journalism, art or literature".


Stonyground said...

It would seem to me that the only way this problem could be overcome is if someone with enough cash were to take them to court. Who says that 'jounalism art and literature' are exempt from FOI requests anyway? It sounds suspiciously like something that they just made up.

Will said...

What has Journalism,Art&Literature got to do with what someone is paid considering JV is frequently vocal about what other people are paid yet he is hiding behind a wall of Silence.If it was a private company then fair enough but its the BBC,which I dont have any choice in if I pay for it.Thereby I should to entitled to know how the money is spent.

I have to have an Aerial to receive non BBC content but if Im able to receive programmes then I need an licence even though non BBC Content receives no funding.

2 Questions for JV show to discuss,,
1: How many people would pay for BBC content if they didnt have too?

2:Why should we need a licence if we agree to not receive BBC content?

The BBC complaints dept must love you;-)