Does the BBC refuse FOI requests by default?

From the TV Licensing blog as posted in April this year and indirectly linked to our post earlier today…

BBC Confirm Detector Vans Never Used in Court

Despite being very reluctant the BBC has finally confirmed what we all knew anyway – detector van/portable detector evidence has never been presented in court.

The revealing Freedom of Information Act response came after the BBC u-turned on their earlier decision to withhold the information under the law enforcement exemptions of the 2000 Act.

In their revised response, issued after an internal review found in our favour…

The question is, does the BBC refuse FOI requests by default?  After all, how could the BBC justify refusing that FOI request in the first place? How could they possibly determine their exemptions from the Act applied to this?    Read the whole post here.

7 Responses to “Does the BBC refuse FOI requests by default?”


  1. 1 A K Haart 22/05/2011 at 3:46 pm

    I think the BBC is certainly obstructive by default, particularly if is senses anything other than servile acceptance of its values at the other end of the FOI, enquiry or complaint. I have never submitted an FOI to the BBC, but have certainly found complaints to be a waste of time.

  2. 2 Philip R Hosking 22/05/2011 at 8:25 pm

    Yes the BBC do refuse FOI requests as a matter of course. I requested information about the BBC’s treatment of the constitutional status of the Duchy of Cornwall, Cornish identity and other Cornwall related matters and they refused to give me even a drop of information all the way past an internal review up to the information ombudsman.

  3. 3 G. P Brown 22/05/2011 at 9:55 pm

    They do answer some FOI requests.

    Following the serialisation of Peter Sissons’ book where he commented on the “influence” of The Guardian on all matters news and current affairs at the BBC I asked for a list and quantities of weekday national papers purchased by the BBC within the M25.

    A fairly speedy reply revealed the totally (un)expected news that The Guardian was around 20% ahead of the next most purchased paper!

  4. 4 Autonomous Mind 22/05/2011 at 10:12 pm

    Surely their reading list and purchase quantities of national papers is a matter of journalism, art or literature… Sounds like you slipped one out under the wire!

  5. 5 Andy Baxter 23/05/2011 at 12:58 am

    any organisation that needs to extract money with menaces from the whole adult population to survive is surely one we do not want, need or require?

  6. 6 Steve 24/05/2011 at 12:20 am

    Spot on, Andy.

  7. 7 jameshigham 24/05/2011 at 3:27 pm

    They refuse in the same way Common Purpose does.


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