Monday 25 January 2021

Computer Says No (again)


We wondered, a day or so ago, how Panorama would get on with their Freedom of Information requests to the BBC regarding the Martin Bashir/Princess Diana affair. 

It would be truly extraordinary if the BBC turned down its own current affairs flagship, but then the BBC is a strange beast. 

The Scotsman newspaper reports today that their own FoI request to the BBC - asking the BBC to provide a breakdown of the number of complaints received by the corporation for each broadcast of Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government’s daily televised briefings - has been refused. 

The broadcaster gave The Scotsman the usual response, that the information has to be kept secret for the purposes of “journalism, art of literature”.

Here's a bigger slice of the BBC's waffle:

“Editorial complaints form part of the ongoing review of the standards and quality of particular areas of programme making with a view to further enhancing these standards; the complaints themselves and the information associated with them plays a significant role in helping to inform editorial discussion and decisions going forward.

"In this way, information relating to editorial complaints is used to inform future content and improve the quality of journalistic output. This is an important part of the BBC’s process of creating and improving programmes.

"The BBC, as a media organisation, is under a duty to impart information and ideas on all matters of public interest and the importance of this function has been recognised by the European Court of Human Rights.

"Maintaining our editorial independence is a crucial factor in enabling the media to fulfil this function.”

Well might The Scotsman feeling aggrieved. All they were asking for were the numbers. 

I'm guessing that the BBC finds them embarrassing.

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