Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,
Some sources close to the BBC have advised me that this story recently had a comment thread enabled, and had garnered several hundred comments in a few hours:
Clearly it does not, at least now. Either this source was mistaken, or they have been removed.
Hence in line with the BBC's proud and constant sharing of the trust it enjoys and transparency it practices, I have some questions regarding the BBC online interactive pages. Not twitter or Facebook (though activities of staff and editors on these do intrigue), but those on BBC pages with a Have Your Say.
1) Is it possible to initiate a BBC HYS thread that invites comments, but then remove it? I know they can be closed, often quite quickly, but this refers to what was there on record, created by the public, being taken from public view.
2) If what is asked in 1) can happen, how many times in the last two years has this happened?
3) Was the one cited above an example?
4) For this and the others, what were the reasons?
5) Is advice of the removal posted on the page at least?
6) If not, why not?
7) What happens to the comments lost?
8) Are those who commented but have had theirs removed told?
9) If so, how? If not, why not?
10) Do they ever 'reappear'?
11) If so, after what period(s)?
Dear Peter Martin
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 21 October 2015. 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 RFI20151767.
The Information Policy & Compliance Team
BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP
Email: [BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2882
Dear Mr Martin
Please find attached the response to your request for information,
BBC Workplace and Information Rights
BC2 A4, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7T
Dear FOI Enquiries,
"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. “
I asked about censorship on the interactive pages of the national public broadcaster’s online ‘Have Your Say' pages, specifically when any ‘Say’ by the public vanishes down a secret BBC memory hole with no acknowledgement or explanation.
I am not alone:
88. Posted by U16104508
20 Oct 2015 19:13
This story no longer marked as having a HYS attached to it.
This last being the one to ‘close' whatever came back, for now, ironically.
How this all falls under' journalism, art or literature' escapes me, and hence I feel compelled to challenge the BBC’s lack of obligation in this regard, and its confidence it will not be doing so.
Hence, rest assured, I will again seek to bring oversight of BBC activity out of BBC internal, unaccountable control, and will next be moving to contact the ICO as suggested, but do first request an internal review as if this will achieve anything more than further delays.