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  • Has the BBC’s derogation died…? Or is it just asleep?

    Posted on June 2nd, 2009 admin No comments
    Is the parrot dead or just waiting for his 20 day limit to expire?

    Is the parrot dead or just waiting for his 20 day limit to expire?

    A Freedom of Information request which has hit the headlines this week has left me somewhat confused - and perhaps somebody out there can explain it to me.

    The Independent broke a story on Monday (June 1) (link) that was followed up by most other media organisations. It was a story about how the BBC had almost ditched Monty Python because they thought it too ‘disgusting’.

    The basis for the story is said to be a Freedom of Information response from the BBC.

    My confusion stems from the fact that the BBC gives out zero information about ‘programming’ and always applies its derogation saying it is exempt from the Act.

    Yet in this case it appears to have given out documents about BBC bosses’ discussions in relation to the future of the programme and the costs associated with it from meetings held in 1970.

    If the BBC is now saying that information relating to programming that is more than 30 or 35 years does fall within the scope of the Act then shouldn’t we be told?

    Also the memos allegedly state that the cast of Monty Python got £160 per show and £10-a-day during filming. Veteran comic Barry Cryer was paid £26 to warm up the crowd. Isn’t this all personal information subject to a S.40 exemption? I doubt John Cleese or Michael Palin care but if the BBC are opening up the pages of its wages ledger from the 1970s there might be some people who would complain.

    I can’t find a copy of the Freedom of Information response on the BBC’s disclosure log, so if anybody can shed any light on why the Beeb felt able to release this info I’d be keen to know.

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