22 December 2009

Strictly Secret?

In a story from the Daily Mail, "Ricky Whittle calls for Beeb to release Strictly Come Dancing voting figures ...

"Strictly Come Dancing runner up Ricky Whittle is calling for the BBC to release the voting figures for the series.

BBC Breakfast sports presenter Chris Hollins clinched the title with partner Ola Jordan on Saturday despite Hollyoaks actor Ricky, and professional Natalie Lowe, being judged as a better dancers technically.
"

Ricky's call is being taken up by Lib-Dem Lord Tyker,

"Liberal Democrate peer Lord Tyker has tabled a parliamentary question on the issue calling for the BBC to be transparent.

'It's completely ludicrous to claim that the Corporation shouldn't make clear how well each couple did in the Strictly final.

'The technology is there, so why the smoke and mirrors?
"

While from the BBC,

"A BBC spokesman said the figures would not be released: 'We never reveal exact figures from our shows as we have a relationship of trust with our contestants and it would be unfair to disclose the exact nature of difference in their popularity.'"

So, why doesn't Ricky et al (ie members of the public) submit a Freedom of Information Request for the results?

It appears that the "FOIA applies to the BBC only “in respect of information held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”."

If the voting results for 'Strictly Come Dancing' is information that is held for purposes of journalism, art or literature; the BBC, with this regard, is no longer a public authority and the Freedom of Informatin Act doesn't apply.

As highlighted by Panopticon (above),

"“the BBC has no obligation to disclose information which they hold to any significant extent for the purposes of journalism, art or literature, whether or not the information is also held for other purposes.” (See para. 65 of Sugar)."

I don't think that the voting results in 'Strictly' could be described as being held for the derogated purposes; not even de minimis; of all the people who take an interest in popular TV shows, it is difficult not to believe that one of them would have the wits to submit a freedom of information request.

One to watch; especially if the competition was rigged.

(Sefton Delmer never had this problem.)

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