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Public announcements during the QuestionTime Programme that were not broadcast

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Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

It has been alleged that Diane Abbott was treated unfairly on BBB QuestionTime on Thursday 17 January 2019. Specifically it is alleged that she was introduced to the audience in a negative way relative to other panelists prior to coming onto the stage, during what has been termed the “warm up” session, that included the participation of host Fiona Bruce.

Please provide the full transcript of this warm-up, including what was said to the audience by each member of BBC staff, including the host as well as BBC staff who do not form part of the broadcast.

Yours faithfully,

M Ramsden

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear M Ramsden,

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as detailed in your email below. Your request was received on 19.01.19. We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your request, please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20190104.

Kind regards,

Information Rights

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882

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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Please find attached our response to your request for information
reference RFI20190104.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Information Rights, BBC Legal

BC2A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TP

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Pictures\BBC.png

 

 

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References

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2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of British Broadcasting Corporation's handling of my FOI request 'Public announcements during the QuestionTime Programme that were not broadcast'.

I am appealing on the grounds that Part VI of Schedule 1 to the FOIA cannot be used as grounds to cover-up a wrong-doing. While initially the BBC Press team denied that such remarks have been made, they have now acknowledged that “light-hearted remarks” were made about Abbott by the host Fiona Bruce during the warm-up session.

The reason given for withholding the information is that: “The information you have requested if held would be excluded from the Act because it would be held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’”
This is too broad and vague. No explanation has been given of the journalistic purposes of this information, and how it covers all the transcript prior to the official broadcast. It may be plausible that there are some sections of the transcript that could be covered by this exclusion, but the BBC needs to justify this specifically for each section that they wish to withhold/redact, and provide the remainder of the transcript that does not fall under this exclusion.

I draw further your attention to the following: At least three members of the Question Time audience have alleged that Abbott was introduced to the audience in a negative way relative to the other guests, during what has been termed the “warm up” session, involving host Fiona Bruce. This would be a breach of the BBC charter, and these allegations were initially flatly denied by the BBC Press team. However subsequently the BBC has admitted that “light-hearted remarks” were made by Fiona Bruice about Abbott, which were not made about other guests. I submit that such remarks would be evidence of a wrong-doing, and that the BBC cannot use the exemption cited in Part VI of Schedule 1 of the FOIA as a means to conceal a wrong-doing e.g. something that is illegal, or unethical, or contrary to the terms of the BBC charter. By definition there can be no “purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature‘“ that justify such a cover-up, and the BBC is therefore obliged to release the transcript containing the remarks that it now acknowleges were made publicly by the host (and any other member of the product team) about Diane Abbott.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Yours faithfully,
M Ramsden

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear M Ramsden

Thank you for your email below dated 03.02.19.

Please note that as stated on your FOI response for RFI20190104 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 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.

Kind regards

Information Rights

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

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