11 TH December 2018
Freedom of Information request – RFI20182116
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 26 th October 2018, seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:
Thank you for your rapid response to my complaint of bias over Brexit coverage at the BBC.
Unfortunately it doesn’t really address the issue. Although you make assertions that there is impartiality there is nothing in your email which actually demonstrates this. I would therefore be grateful if you would supply me with information that will enable me to understand how you ensure impartiality. In particular could you send me
- A copy of your policy on impartiality in relation to Brexit. Given the nature of Brexit I presume that you do have one
- Data on who you have interviewed on Brexit on national radio and TV, in what programmes and time slots where appropriate (eg the Today Programme), how long they were interviewed for, what their position was deemed to be in relation to Brexit (or why they were chosen).
- How you monitor impartiality within and between programmes.
If it helps, this can be considered to be a Freedom of Information Request as well as a complaint. I am sure that you understand that unless you are gathering and monitoring this (or similar) information yourself you cannot know whether or not you are being impartial. I look forward to your response.
The limited application of the Act to public service broadcasters was to protect freedom of expression and the rights of the media under Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). The BBC, as a media organisation, is under a duty to impart information and ideas on all matters of public interest and the importance of this function has been recognised by the European Court of Human Rights. Maintaining our editorial independence is a crucial factor in enabling the media to fulfil this function.
That said, the BBC makes a huge range of information available about our programmes and content on bbc.co.uk. We also proactively publish information covered by the Act on our publication scheme and regularly handle requests for information under the Act.
The BBC does not offer an internal review when the information requested is not covered by the Act. If you disagree with our decision you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. Contact details are: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, tel: 0303 123 1113 or see https://ico.org.uk/. Please note that should the Information Commissioner’s Office decide that the Act does cover this information, exemptions under the Act might then apply.