Does the BBC have something to hide?

Extract from an editorial from The Times:

"You couldn't make it up. Or perhaps you could. Remember Sir Arnold Robinson, the cynical, secretive Cabinet Secretary in the comedy Yes Minister, who retires to become head of the freedom of information campaign? This story is a little bit like that.

A freedom of information request has been made to a major public body. The body has resisted. It claims that the law does not apply to it and that it can't go handing out its documents to just anybody. It complains, as those who resist freedom of information requests always complain, that this is the thin end of the wedge. So having lost its case at the Information Tribunal, it went to the High Court, then the Court of Appeal and finally the House of Lords.

Yesterday the Lords ruled against the public body. But still it won't publish. It intends to go back to the High Court.

What is the body? MI5? The police? The Ministry of Defence? No, it is the BBC. What is the document? A guide to security precautions at Broadcasting House? The burglar alarm codes of its staff based in the Middle East? No, it is a report that the corporation commissioned from Malcolm Balen, one of its senior staff, into whether its coverage of the Middle East was biased."

Time to publish: Those who use the freedom of information act should not hide from it (The Times, 13 February 2009)


Martin Rosenbaum said...

This article was in The Times, not the Telegraph

foisa blogger said...

Thanks for pointing that out - the article has now been updated.