The lawyer, the BBC and the Freedom of Information Act.

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  • Although there can now be no doubt that the Balen Report is now beyond public reach by means of he FOIA, that document is not necessarily typical of material sought from the BBC under the legislation. It is relatively easy to argue that this report is held by the BBC for the purpose of journalism to a 'significant' extent and therefore not subject to the FOIA.
    The judgement handed down by the Supreme Court this morning is by no means an easy read for the layperson, but it would seem to me that the court has gone some way towards limiting the range of information that the BBC will be able to withhold in future, although nowhere near as far as might have been hoped. I would be most interested to know whether contributors here agree.
    The first test of the Supreme Court's judgement may be a case that I have before the Information Tribunal at the moment. This concerns information that the BBC may find much more difficult to claim is held for journalistic purposes to a significant extent, or that its disclosure would 'interfere with the performance of the functions of the BBC in broadcasting journalism'.
    We will see!

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