3 May 2012
Dear Mr Keegan, Freedom of Information request – RFI20120376
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 4 April 2012, seeking the following information under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000:
Which candidates in the current London mayoral elections have been invited to debate with each
other on Newsnight (in 2012 to date, including tonight's edition)?
What criteria are used for determining which candidates are invited?
The information you have requested is out of scope of the Act but you can read more about the
guest list on the edition of Newsnight broadcast on April 4 here:
With regard to the criteria for selecting contributors, you may be interested to read the BBC’s
election guidelines here:
We hope you find this helpful. Please note that the information you have requested is excluded
from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ 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” 1. The BBC is not required by the Act to supply information held for the
1 For more information about how the Act applies to the BBC please see the enclosure at the end of this letter.
Please note that this guidance is not intended to be a comprehensive legal interpretation of how the Act applies to the
purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with
these creative activities; however, on this occasion we’re happy to provide the above information
in response to your request. Appeal Rights
The BBC does not offer an internal review when the information requested is not covered by the
Act. If you disagree with our decision you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. Contact
details are: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire,
SK9 5AF telephone 01625 545 700. http://www.ico.gov.uk
Head of Accountability, BBC News
Freedom of Information
From January 2005 the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives a general right of access to all
types of recorded information held by public authorities. The Act also sets out exemptions from that
right and places a number of obligations on public authorities. The term “public authority” is defined
in the Act; it includes all public bodies and government departments in the UK. The BBC, Channel 4,
S4C and MG Alba are the only broadcasting organisations covered by the Act. Application to the BBC
The BBC has a long tradition of making information available and accessible. It seeks to be open and
accountable and already provides the public with a great deal of information about its activities. BBC
Audience Services operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week handling telephone and written
comments and queries, and the BBC’s website bbc.co.uk provides an extensive online information
It is important to bear this in mind when considering the Freedom of Information Act and how it
applies to the BBC. The Act does not apply to the BBC in the way it does to most public authorities
in one significant respect. It recognises the different position of the BBC (as well as Channel 4 and
S4C) by saying that it covers information “held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or
literature”. This means the Act does not apply to information held for the purposes of creating the
BBC’s output (TV, radio, online etc), or information that supports and is closely associated with
these creative activities.
A great deal of information within this category is currently available from the BBC and will continue
to be so. If this is the type of information you are looking for, you can check whether it is available
on the BBC’s website bbc.co.uk or contact BBC Audience Services.
The Act does apply to all of the other information we hold about the management and running of the
BBC. The BBC
The BBC's aim is to enrich people's lives with great programmes and services that inform, educate
and entertain. It broadcasts radio and television programmes on analogue and digital services in the
UK. It delivers interactive services across the web, television and mobile devices. The BBC's online
service is one of Europe's most widely visited content sites. Around the world, international
multimedia broadcaster BBC World Service delivers a wide range of language and regional services
on radio, TV, online and via wireless handheld devices, together with BBC World News, the
commercially-funded international news and information television channel.
The BBC's remit as a public service broadcaster is defined in the BBC Charter and Agreement. It is
the responsibility of the BBC Trust (the sovereign body within the BBC) to ensure that the
organisation delivers against this remit by setting key objectives, approving strategy and policy, and
monitoring and assessing performance. The Trustees also safeguard the BBC's independence and
ensure the Corporation is accountable to its audiences and to Parliament.
Day-to-day operations are run by the Director-General and his senior management team, the
Executive Board. All BBC output in the UK is funded by an annual Licence Fee. This is determined
and regularly reviewed by Parliament. Each year, the BBC publishes an Annual Report & Accounts,
and reports to Parliament on how it has delivered against its public service remit.