My long struggle to find out who attended the BBC's seminar on climate change has come to an end (if you are not familiar with the story, see here). Readers here will recall that the seminar appears to have been attended by a bunch of NGO people, who decided that there was a consensus on climate change that meant that sceptics could be sidelined in the corporation's output. The BBC Trust then falsely reported that the decision had been made by leading scientists.
My FOI request, dating back several years, has been repeatedly turned down and the appeal has gone all the way to the Information Tribunal, a rather more formal process than the Information Commission, being overseen by a judge. My appeal was on a number of grounds
- that the seminar was not a bona fide attempt to assess the science and as such did not fall under the journalistic purposes exemption that the BBC was using
- failing this, that administrative emails relating to the seminar were so far removed from journalism as to put it outside the exemption
- failing this, that the information was nevertheless disclosable under EIR.
The ruling was issued at the start of the week and can be seen below. Not good news, but you win some and you lose some.