BBC Open Secrets Watch
Still nothing from the BBC's Open Secrets blogger Martin Rosenbaum on the decision to take the Balen Report case to the High Court, but he has commented on the proposed changes to the cost of freedom of information requests:
I've been asked numerous times today what the impact of the latest government proposals would be on BBC journalism, so here is the answer - they would dramatically curtail the use of FOI by the BBC.Bad news, but it's hard to sympathise when the BBC is spending God knows how much of the licence payers' money opposing an FOI request. And just to highlight the hypocrisy, here's a page where the BBC brags about the number of times its own journalists have used similar requests with great success.
The cost limits (£600 for government department, £450 for other public authorities) would be imposed not on one request (as at the moment) but on the total of all FOI requests from one particular organisation (eg the BBC) over three months, even if the requests are from completely different indviduals and relate to completely unconnected topics.
So effectively if one BBC journalist puts an FOI request to, say, the Ministry of Defence then it would probably prevent any other BBC journalist (of whom there are thousands) putting another FOI request on any other topic to the MoD anytime in the next three months.