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BBC opposes FOI restrictions

Martin Rosenbaum | 13:33 UK time, Monday, 11 December 2006

The BBC has today expressed its 'strong opposition' to the government's proposed restrictions on freedom of information.

The Deputy Director General Mark Byford, who chairs the BBC's Journalism Board, has written to Lord Falconer asking the government to withdraw the proposals. This is the text of the letter.

Byford writes: 'These proposals would dramatically curtail the ability of BBC journalists and others to put into the public domain material which merits disclosure in the public interest. In this way the proposed changes would actually obstruct the aim of increasing openness and transparency in public life that lies behind the government's introduction of FOI.'

He adds: 'From our perspective as an authority receiving many requests we see absolutely no need for the measures that are being proposed.'

The BBC is in a virtually unique position as an organisation which both submits and receives large numbers of FOI requests.

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Very strong and concise response from the BBC to a shameful proposed change in the law.

The question is, what more can we do to stop the changes being made - I've written to my MP - other ideas people?

  • 2.
  • At 05:45 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Peter HOAR wrote:

Martin, You might want to consider recruiting a volunteer INFO-E-ARMY to individually forward your multiple requests, if/when FOI rationing is introduced. Peter HOAR

  • 3.
  • At 05:47 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Peter HOAR wrote:

Martin, You might want to consider recruiting a volunteer INFO-E-ARMY to individually forward your multiple requests, if/when FOI rationing is introduced. Peter HOAR

  • 4.
  • At 03:53 PM on 19 Dec 2006,
  • Nick Evans wrote:

I note that the BBC is busy challenging the application of the FoI Act to itself, though: https://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/decisionnotices/2006/fs50102474.pdf Isn't sauce that's good for the goose also good for the gander?

  • 5.
  • At 07:31 PM on 06 Jan 2007,
  • Paul Dockree wrote:

Martin,

Proposed restrictions of the FOI Act? As opposed to the unofficial ones that seem the norm now. Citing expense for not releasing the info, or that it may cause interference with private companies ability to act effectively or pretending that the query has already been satisfactorily answered.

And the Government need even more restrictions to allow them to completely negate any good the Freedom Of Information Act did?

Go BBC! Let us call this attempt exactly what it is - continued secrecy for certain shameful situations and possible future ones.

Any Government that condones a local council literally cutting out a chunk of the FOI Act and sending it in this indigestible form to a non lawyer but as the entire letter to a former child in care deserves being brought to account.

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