Records related to an FOI refusal to divule evidence of Venezuela's missing 3 million Venezuelans
Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,
I received the following reply from the BBC FOI:
"Freedom of Information request – RFI20190282
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 13/02/19, seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:
"BBC journalists have regularly stated that 3 million Venezuelans have fled Venezuela. I would like to review the information as part of my studies. I searched online and all I could find was details of increases in Venezuela's population. The BBC will have reliable impartial evidence to make such a powerful statement, so the evidence would be immensely useful to my studies.
I am aware that you have an exemption from FOI for matters of journalism but I was hoping for a voluntary disclosure, from the BBC, of the evidence used to make the repeated statement. I'm asking the BBC as the BBC is not merely reporting what someone else has said, but repeatedly asserting the statement as fact.
I can find plenty of other broadcasters in and outside the UK who report the same but I can find no evidence of any drop in population online."
The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to you and will not be doing so on this occasion. 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”. 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 activities."
NEW FOI REQUESTS
I stated in my request:
"I am aware that you have an exemption from FOI for matters of journalism but I was hoping for a voluntary disclosure..".
The BBC then told me in it's response that my request was exempt from the legislation, but without the courtesy of telling me that they were declining my request for "voluntary disclosure".
I now have 4 new requests. This time, I am not requesting voluntary disclosure as these new requests are not exempt from the FOI legislation.
1) Please provide a copy of all electronic communications concerning the FOI request RFI20190282, by the FOI department and other BBC departments.
2) Please provide a copy of the BBC records detailing a process whereby one may request evidence used by BBC News to underpin supposed-facts said by BBC staff (not interviewees or report subjects), when one believes it to be untrue or an opinion.
3) Please provide copies of all electronic communications with the word "Venezuela" in, from and to any BBC staff.
4) Please provide a copy of any records regarding any policies and procedures on using unsubstantiated or uncorroborated information as facts by any BBC News staff.
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 19/02/19. 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 RFI20190307.
BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP
Email: [BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2882
Dear FOI Enquiries,
I've just noticed a mistake I didn't pickup prior to sending my new requests, although, it's not directly relevant to the new requests but nonetheless, I'd like to admit and rectify. I wrote that BBC FOI " .... but without the courtesy of telling me that they were declining my request for "voluntary disclosure"."
I apologise for my error, for of course you did tell me you were not disclosing, but I was suppose to write "but without the courtesy of telling me [why] they were declining my request for "voluntary disclosure"."
Dear Mr Walker,
Please find attached our response to your request for information
Information Rights, BBC Legal
BC2A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TP
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