The BBC is trying to wriggle out of some responsibilities when it comes to responding to requests for data made under the Freedom of Information Act, claiming it’s more of a private body than a public one and should therefore be exempt from having to answer some personal questions.
The latest attempt to get the BBC to respond to FoI requests is being pulled through the tribunal system right now, with a case covering the identities of 28 scientists and other climate experts who attended a BBC meeting in 2006 up for debate. The BBC changed its reporting stance on climate change after this meeting, and outsiders want to know who was there and what was said.
For all the talk of the BBC being owned by and answerable to the public, it’s actually in a rather awkward position when it comes to the UK’s FoI rules that cover public bodies. The corporation has an FoI opt-out clause that means it doesn’t have to even acknowledge the existence of certain data, let alone reveal it to anyone who can be bothered invoking FoI rules, if it believes it holds the data for valid journalistic reasons. [The Register]