BBC uses ‘purposes of journalism’ defence to avoid FOI on Dept of Health comms

Quick update. I received a very polite email from the BBC regarding my FOI review appeal on communications with the BBC, advising that it would be a major work to identify communications with the Dept of Health, and that even if it did so, it would withhold “any information held by staff involved in programme making (i.e. editorial staff), and which has a direct relationship to our content is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act…because Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature””

Whether it will do any good or not, I don’t know, but here’s how I’ve responded:

Dear Louise,

Thank you for the explanation. Surely it’s a fairly simple and
quick matter for one of your IT people to do a search of emails
stored on your server, within the time parameters of the request,
sent to a dh.gov.uk address (or however the DH configures its email

Things being omitted for the purposes of journalism is fine. But
communications regarding editorial decisions and what should be
included in broadcasts should not be covered by that exemption.

Please conduct the review on this basis.

Many thanks,

Steve Walker

Let’s see what happens!

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