Monday, October 16, 2006

The Balen Report

As I noted yesterday, the Sunday Telegraph reported that the BBC is still trying to keep secret the findings of a 2004 report into its Middle East coverage.
The corporation is mounting a landmark High Court action to prevent the release of The Balen Report under the Freedom of Information Act, despite the fact that BBC reporters often use the Act to pursue their journalism.
To listen to BBC reporters using the Act to pursue their journalism, click here (mp3, 45 secs). The clip comes from a 2005 Michael Crick programme from Radio 4 called, ironically, The Right to Know (streaming audio). Crick does a fair bit of work for Newsnight, where they don't bother with trivialities like the FOIA, preferring leaked papers instead.

By going all the way to the High Court the hypocrites at the BBC are trying to delay the release of the findings so they can claim it was all a very long time ago. Public funds are being used to save the blushes of BBC execs and journalists, and that is a disgrace.

When the BBC lost the last round of its fight against the Balen Report, this was the feeble response of Martin Rosenbaum who writes the BBC's Open Secrets blog about freedom of information:
Personally, I haven't read the report in question, and my work making FOI requests is separate from the activity of the BBC team who deal with incoming FOI requests. So I can't comment on the BBC's point of view or what might happen next.
It'll be interesting to see if Mr Rosenbaum has grown a pair since then and has anything more substantial to say on the matter. Here's the main page of Open Secrets to check for updates.

Update. The Editors blog has at least linked to the Sunday Telegraph story.


Anonymous JuliaM said...

"the BBC are trying to delay the release of the findings so they can claim it was all a very long time ago."

Well, that works both ways.

The next time the Public Records Office releases something that the BBC gleefully leaps on because it bolsters its own point of view, the response can be "Oh, it was all a very long time ago..."

1:46 pm  

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