Over on his blog, Gaz the Journo has posted a follow up piece to the BBC FOI investigation that started when an Autonomous Mind reader came up against the brick wall behind which the corporation is allowed to shield itself from the scrutiny of licence fee payers (despite using FOI with zeal when it suits its own purposes).
It all started with a complaint to the BBC about a lack of journalistic rigour during an interview with President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives. The complaint was rejected prompting a Freedom of Information request to the BBC about the way it handles complaints, which was also rejected. Our reader demonstrated outstanding perseverence and launched an appeal to the Information Commissioner, and surprise surprise this was also rejected as the establishment closed ranks around its propaganda tool. As we pointed out at the time:
This is quite a staggering communication from the ICO, if again completely unsurprising. At the heart of it is the assumption or belief that because the BBC says the complaints material informs their editorial direction they should not be bound to reveal how many complaints they receive.
However at no point is the BBC asked to provide evidence that demonstrates, on the basis of complaints received, they have ever adjusted their editorial approach. We are simply enjoined to accept it without proof.
This case piqued the interest of Gaz the Journo. In considering the BBC response to a complaint he has made on a separate matter, he too is now asking whether the BBC actually use information from the complaints process to inform its journalism, as it claims to. Gaz seems to have already drawn a conclusion from the reply the BBC sent him, as you can read on Gaz’s blog here, but nevertheless he now seems to be committed to a course of action to dig deeper.
The more that people challenge this unjust status quo the greater the chance the BBC’s exemption from the FOI Act will come under review, and the greater the likelihood that the corporation will finally be subject to proper scrutiny from those forced to pay for it so that we can hold it to account.