Important FoI request denied - BBC worse than Mugabe

Former North Cornwall MP, Lord Tyler, is engaged in a fierce exchange of letters with the BBC over the disclosure of the number of telephone votes in the controversial semi-final of Strictly Come Dancing.

The botched semi-final saw three, rather than two, couples progress to the finals last month and the incensed Lib Dem peer wants to find out exactly how many votes were cast for each competitor.

Lord Tyler's attempts at using the Freedom of Information act have been denied and he has now compared the BBC's tactics to those of Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe.

The BBC claims the voting figures for the final and semi-final of the popular competition are not covered by transparency rules.

Lord Tyler said: "These are standards of transparency more resonant of Zimbabwe than of a democratic country with effective freedom of information rules. Even Mugabe eventually had to release voting figures once the election was over."

'BBC secret vote just like Mugabe' (West Morning News, 20 January 2009)