"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."
Those are very familiar words to those who put in a Freedom of Information request to the BBC.
A Conservative MP Andrew Percy has just had the pleasure of reading them too after the BBC rejected his FoI request to get the BBC to disclose the total budget of BBC Sounds (the replacement for the BBC iPlayer) as well as information on how many times it had been promoted on BBC television and the cost of a promotional film featuring Kylie Minogue and Idris Elba.
The Times previously found that the BBC planned to spend over £10 million on advertising it.
Mr. Percy says:
The BBC has committed millions of pounds of licence fee payers’ money to advertising BBC Sounds. I think it is reasonable to ask exactly how much it is spending and what value it attributes to this. The new BBC charter promised more transparency on promotion of its services, so I’m surprised that BBC management has . . . sought to hide behind an opt-out.
Ha, well, welcome to our world, sir!
The BBC has issued a statement in response:
The BBC is committed to transparency and we voluntarily disclose more information about ourselves than any other broadcaster. This is our biggest product launch in ten years and like any media organisation we’re using advertising to tell audiences about it because the more people who use it the better value it delivers to licence fee payers.
It will still be good to know how much the BBC is spending on it though, wouldn't it? After all we pay for it.