This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Costs of Hosting & Moderating Forums, Blogs and HYS'.

link to page 1

 
 
 
 
 
 
A. McDonald 
By email to: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx 
 
 
1st March 2010 
 
 
Dear A McDonald 
 
Freedom of Information request – reference number RFI20100244 
 
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 16 February 2010 made under the Freedom of 
Information Act 2000 (the Act) in which you requested: 
 
“Please provide the costs for hosting & moderating the following areas of the site 
www.bbc.co.uk:     

     
           Have Your Say 
      
           Points of View 
      
           Comments Section of BBC Blogs. 
      

I do not require the costs of the bloggers time composing blogs or their responses to  
comments, just the overall management costs of such sites” 

 
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 the Act 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 purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that 
supports and is closely associated with these creative activities. 
 
                                                 
1 For more information about how the Act applies to the BBC please see www.bbc.co.uk/foi. Please note that this 
guidance is not intended to be a comprehensive legal interpretation of how the Act applies to the BBC. 
 
 

You may not be aware that one of the main policy drivers behind the limited application of the Act to 
public service broadcasters was to protect freedom of expression and the rights of the media under 
Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).  The BBC, as a media organisation, is 
under a duty to impart information and ideas on all matters of public interest and the importance of 
this function has been recognised by the European Court of Human Rights.  Maintaining our editorial 
independence is a crucial factor in enabling the media to fulfil this function.  
 
However, on this occasion we are happy to volunteer that the BBC uses a mix of in-house and third 
party moderators and hosts for our message boards and forums. We currently engage Tempero 
Limited (“Tempero”) to perform web moderation for us, including moderating the message boards for 
Have Your Say and Points of View. Tempero’s details are publicly available at: http://tempero.co.uk/ 
 
We hope you find this information useful. 
 
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
 
Yours sincerely 
 
 
 
 
L. Stiller 
Legal & Business Affairs Manager 
Future Media & Technology 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  2

 
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 and S4C are the only broadcasters 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 Information 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 resource.  
 
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 Information. 
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 Europe's most widely visited content site. Across the 
world, the BBC broadcasts radio programmes in 32 languages on the BBC World Service and 
the 24 hour television service, BBC World News. 
 
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 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. The Trust is supported by a 
network of advisory bodies across the UK.  
  3

 
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. 
 
  4