Saturday 9 November 2013

Held for the purposes of 'journalism, art or literature’

Regular readers of this blog may recall the occasional grumble about James Naughtie's accumulation of air miles, courtesy of the BBC licence payer:
Air stewards and stewardesses probably get to see less of the world than Today's globe-trotting James Naughtie. 
Recently back from Egypt - from where he filed a few award-seeking reports for a few days before returning to Blighty again - Today has now seen fit to dispatch its favourite frequent flyer to the United States, from where he can pontificate (for a few days) about Washington's response to the Syrian crisis, and then win an award for it (fingers crossed).
This sort of thing usually provokes a few complaints from never-satisfied listeners about BBC's profligacy, not that that ever seems to stop the BBC from doing it again.
 Well, the Telegraph's Tim Walker has clearly noticed the same thing:
No global conflict — no matter how ferocious — is deemed to be important at the BBC until Jim Naughtie has hot-footed it to the scene to pontificate upon it at length in one of his signature essays for the Today programme.
So he decided to ask the BBC how much Today spends each year on sending its presenters on these types of foreign expedition. 

Inevitably, the BBC refuses to oblige, citing (as ever) the Freedom of Information Act:
"The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of 'journalism, art or literature’. The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to you and will not be doing so on this occasion."
Tim describes that reply as "tart" but - as many of us Beeb watchers are well aware - this is in fact a standard form of words which the BBC invariably uses in these kinds of circumstance to whoever makes the inquiry.

1 comment:

  1. I've set up a petition for the "journalism, art or literature" clause to be deleted from the Freedom of Information Act, thereby putting the BBC, Channel 4, S4C and the Gaelic Media Service under the same FOI spotlight they themselves use when trawling the public sector for anything newsworthy.

    If anyone is interested they can click my name to go straight to it.


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