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Sunday, 5 July 2015

BBC Suppresses Director General's Wining and Dining Expenses

"We still need to bring proper transparency, accountability and control to the way we spend licence fee payers’ money", bleated Tony Hall, the recently installed BBC Director General, during a speech at City University a year ago this week.

Despite acknowledging the importance of qualities like openness, transparency, honesty, accountability, it appears Lord Hall is only prepared to go so far to fulfill the public's insatiable appetite for probing the integrity of the national broadcaster.

Today The Mail on Sunday reported how the BBC has worked tirelessly to suppress the release of information about how much TV licence fee payers' money Lord Hall has spent wining and dining individuals.

In a desperate bid to hamper The Mail on Sunday's efforts the BBC accused it of making "vexatious" Freedom of Information requests and argued that releasing the information would encourage it to make further enquiries.

The whole sorry saga has been rumbling on for the last nine-months, but fortunately the Information Commissioner's Office has just issued a Decision Notice compelling the BBC to satisfy The Mail on Sunday's request.

Having been pissed around on numerous occasions by the BBC's Freedom of Information donkeys, we have a certain amount of sympathy for The Mail on Sunday's cause. Indeed they have previously levelled the "vexatious" label at the TV Licensing Blog, as it's a convenient get-out when asked too many awkward questions.

Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, said: "It's very hypocritical that the BBC, which uses the Freedom of Information Act to get stories, doesn't want to show the same level of transparency it expects in others.

"The BBC is funded by the taxpayer and has a duty to respond to Freedom of Information requests about its expenditure. The Mail on Sunday has struck a blow for openness, transparency and accountability."

Assuming the Commissioner applies standard directions, the BBC will have 28 days to either release the information in full or appeal to the Information Rights (First-tier) Tribunal.

We look forward to seeing the information the BBC has been desperately trying to keep hidden.

1 comment:

Fred Bear said...

The BBC loves whining and diving as much as wining and dining.