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This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Monday, 20 August 2012

Forcing the BBC to Talk

There are a lot of things I despise about the BBC, not least the way they allow TV Licensing to terrorise non-TV viewers without any evidence of wrongdoing at all.

Another thing I loathe is the way the BBC dodges legitimate requests it receives under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 simply because they're too embarrassed (or can't be arsed) to respond. It's a bit of a running joke that if the BBC doesn't want to respond it pretends the information is exempt from disclosure because it is held for the purposes of journalism, art or literature. They often give this response when they are asked about production costs. I mean it's difficult to justify destroying hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of perfectly good vehicles on Top Gear when the country is crippled with debt. Far better to dodge the issue completely when asked anything on the subject.

I came across the following Decision Notice when browsing the ICO website. The BBC were asked about the costs of televising Children in Need. The complainant wanted to be assured that the BBC was spending its charitable donations wisely instead of using them to line the pockets of Terry Wogan and Fearne Cotton. The BBC, no doubt sensing the potential embarrassment of disclosure, fell back on its tried and tested journalism, art or literature get out of jail free card. The Information Commissioner disagreed and ordered the BBC to disclose the information requested in full.

The Decision Notice explains: "The Commissioner holds the view that financial information about a programme cost or payment made has no bearing on the ability of the programme maker to be creative. Indeed, in this instance the programme had already been created. Any later request for information about cost or payment can have no effect on the journalistic, artistic or literary creativity that went into the programme's production. The Commissioner does not accept that the requested information was held for the purposes of journalism, art or literature and is therefore satisfied that the Act applies in this case."

On the basis of that ruling the BBC has no business rebuffing enquiries about previously broadcast programme costs using the journalism, art or literature exemption.

I would encourage people to ask the BBC for costs of production and presenter fees on the basis of this ruling. Please quote the above paragraph and cite the ICO's ruling in respect of Case Ref: FS50102474 when making your requests.

Remember that requests can be made very easily via the WhatDoTheyKnow.com website.


33_hertz said...

Great find and information, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Interesting find. Did you find the response from the BBC i.e. what they revealed as their expenditure? That would make an interesting read..

Anonymous said...

Why cant they just block the channels simular to sky the channels u have not paid for are greyed out so u cant view them i pay for sky as it is tv licence day light robbery i dont even watch free channels like bbc one itv etc

admin said...

Thanks for your comment TV Daylight Robbery.

The reason they don't just block the channels:

1. A TV licence is a licence to watch/record live TV programme services on any channel broadcast from anywhere in the world. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a licence for BBC services, despite the fact licence fee revenue is used to fund the BBC. That's a lot of channels to block and it's completely impractical, as most of them originate overseas.

2. Some people are legally allowed to watch/record live TV programme services without a licence. For example, TV engineers and retailers do not need a TV licence for equipment being tested or displayed.

There are probably other reasons too.