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British Broadcasting Corporation Room BC2 A4 Broadcast Centre White City Wood Lane London W12 7TP
Telephone 020 8008 2882 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew J Killingbeck
30 May 2019
Dear Andrew, Freedom of Information request – RFI20190909
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 28 May 2019 seeking the following information under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’):
“Following the then Prime Ministers' declaration in Feb. 2016 Until the actual referendum result on
23rd June 2016, how much "Air time" (Air time being the amount of time dedicated by programs
and broadcast by the BBC, either by Television, Radio or online programmes) was given to the
To list specifically the dates and times and programme titles, of such programmes where the
Subject of Remaining or Leaving the EU, was debated or covered.
To cover all programmes including News reports, Current Affairs, Local Affairs programs, Debates,
Party political broadcasts (on behalf of participating Parties/Groups) , and any other entertainment
If possible a breakdown in to specific BBC regions”
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
than those of journalism, art or literature”. The BBC is not required to supply
information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is
closely associated with these creative activities1.
1 For more information about how the Act applies to the BBC please see the enclosure which fol ows this letter.
Please note that this guidance is not intended to be a comprehensive legal interpretation of how the Act applies to the
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
al 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’re happy to voluntarily provide the below information in response
to your request. The BBC also makes a huge range of information available about our programmes
and content on bbc.co.uk.
Below is a link to the BBC Editorial Guidelines which are the BBC’s values and standards and apply
to al the BBC’s content. https://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/
There is an entire section of the BBC Editorial Guidelines which is dedicated to Politics, Public
Policy and Poles (section 10). In addition, the principles relating to our political impartiality are set
out in the Agreement accompanying the BBC Charter
which can be found at the link below: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/governance/regulatory_framework/charter_agreement.html
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, tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 (national rate) or see http://www.ico.org.uk
Please note that should the Information Commissioner’s Office decide that the Act does cover
this information, exemptions under the Act might then apply.
Freedom of Information
From January 2005 the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives a general right of access
to al 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 al 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 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
wel 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 al of the other information we hold about the management and
running of 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 Ofcom (the BBC’s independent regulator) to ensure
that the organisation delivers against this remit by setting key objectives, approving strategy
and policy, and monitoring and assessing performance. Ofcom also safeguard the BBC's
independence and ensure the Corporation is accountable to its audiences and to Parliament.