I have now received what I believe to be the first official response from the BBC in connection to the Twenty Eight Gate Scandal (since the names the BBC tried to withhold were found) and it seems that the BBC’s attitude is that they will try to ignore that anything has happened and carry on as normal.
Mid-way through Tony Newbery’s court case to overturn the BBC’s decision to withhold information, I read this article by Andrew Orlowski and decided to send a Freedom Of Information request of my own.
At the time it seemed apparent that the BBC would succeed in covering-up the names of people in question and since the Jimmy Savile affair was raging in October, I thought I’d enquire if Jimmy Savile was one of the participants at the secret seminar.
Of course I didn’t really think Savile had been in attendance, but at the time I sent my FOI request the very mention of Jimmy Savile seemed to have the magic effect of forcing the BBC to be open, honest and transparent in areas which they normally keep hidden from us licence fee payers.
What changed, however, was that after I submitted my FOI request, Maurizio Morabito uncovered the names of the seminar delegates. The day after Maurizio found the names in question I annotated my FOI request updating the BBC as follows:
“In order to save the licence payer money I can tell the BBC that the participants of the climate seminar in question are available on-line here: http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/11/…
It would seem that Jimmy Savile was not a participant at this seminar, either as a delegate or in the role of climate expert. Unless the BBC wish to correct this understanding?”
Today the BBC replied to my FOI request with the predictable “Please note that the information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’” So despite the names of the seminar delegates now being freely discussed in the public domain, the BBC won’t confirm or deny that Jimmy Savile was present, let alone comment on who was present at the seminar which resulted in the BBC changing their editorial policy towards climate.
The response that I received from the BBC happened to come on the very same day that Chris Patten opined: “BBC can be smug and complacent and disastrously wrong at times, but still represents some of UK’s best qualities”
Tonight both Chris Patten and the BBC should be asking themselves if the BBC has been acting smug, complacent and disastrously wrong throughout this entire Twenty Eight Gate affair. Does the BBC’s approach to climate reporting “represent some of the UK’s best qualities”?