Tag Archives: BBC

The BBC doesn’t spend a penny on poppies

Over here at Volesoft, we did wonder why every BBC presenter was wearing a poppy on the day to remember the dead.

So we put in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

It transpires the BBC claims it doesn’t spend a penny on poppies, and, indeed has never bought a poppy.

Which makes it all even more mysterious.  You can find the BBC FOI answer to our request, here.  

Crime wave hits Banburyshire

A WAVE OF CRIME is sweeping across a place called Banbury and it’s affecting Oxford and Bicester too.

As you can see from this story in the  Oxford Mail, criminals are receiving tough love from the authorities in what’s obviously a major crackdown at the home of the Banbury Cake.

We’re not entirely sure why Banbury residents Emma Ashburn and Marie Biston got fined more than two other folk in Bicester and in Oxford.  But, rest assured, Google, sorry BBC vans, are watching you. ♥

The BBC won’t talk about religion

THE UK is becoming increasingly secular and culturally diverse, but the BBC continues to pursue a mostly Christian agendum.  Every morning, BBC Radio 4 starts with a prayer for the day, and during the Today programme, there’s a religious slot at about 12 minutes to eight called Thought for the Day.  The speakers are usually Christian clergy, although every so often, a Sikh, a Muslim or a Hindu or a Jew gets the slot.  There’s never an atheist, an agnostic and we haven’t heard a pagan yet.

Sundays are particularly tedious with a programme on religion between 7:10AM and a religious service kicking in on Radio 4 at 8:10 AM, forcing me to switch to the BBC World Service.

I decided to make use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to see if BBC management could shed any light on the matter.  My request was declined because the BBC appears to believe that religious content is exempt from the FOI Act because it’s journalism, art or literature.

Here’s the text of its reply, below. 

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Dear Mr Magee,
Freedom of Information request – RFI20151825

Thank you for your request to the BBC of 1st November 2015 seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000: ‘Every Sunday, BBC Radio 4 seems to fill the airwaves with religious broadcasts, mostly of the Christian persuasion. I would like to ask the BBC why it feels the need to do this, specifically as this country is increasingly secularist and hardly anyone goes to the church on Sunday, if they even believe in the church. Is this a function of the BBC charter? And what’s the justification for doing thought for the day on BBC Radio 4 Today every weekday without including atheistic and agnostic ideas?  Thirdly, who picks the clergy to deliver thought for the day?’

The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to you and will not be doing so on this occasion. Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”.

The BBC is not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.1 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 1 For more information about how the Act applies to the BBC please see the enclosure which follows this letter. Please note that this guidance is not intended to be a comprehensive legal interpretation of how the Act applies to the BBC.

(“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.

Appeal Rights
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 telephone 01625 545 700. http://www.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.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Burns Head of Group Operations BBC Radio

Volesoft interviews Jeremy Paxman’s dog. Come on, come on!

A Loidensian, it transpiresNewsnight celebrity Jeremy Paxman is a national celebrity. An English national celebrity, of course – he has written a number of books celebrating England. He was born in Leeds in 1950. I was born in Aberdeen in 1949 but spent my time between 1961 and 1973 in Leeds, going to possibly the worst Jesuit school in the known universe, the now demolished St Michael’s College. Paxman’s Wackypedia entry doesn’t say which school he attended.

Nor does it say whether Paxman has a dog.

We mention the dog because we watch Paxman interrogate students on University Challenge. Sometimes, we watch him interrogating politicians on Newsnight, too.

If he has a dog, and he has had a bad day at the orifice, we imagine this conversation when he gets home.

Paxman to dog: “Stop barking at me, Fudo, you remind me of myself.”

Fudo (in high voice): “Have you had a good day, master?”

Paxman (in mock surprise): “You are a talking dog! So I have some questions to ask you Fudo, Wien College Austria and for you Fido Doggywoggy College Braemar!

“It is your starter for 10. What is the Bessemer Process?”

[Fudo, Wien, buzzes]
”It is to do with steel.”

[Paxman looks smug because he has the answers on a card. He slaps one down, with a contemptuous look at the poor stude.]

Paxman: “This is the music round.” [Paxman looks triumphant]

[Wien College Austria, Shoshtakovich] “Bach.”

Paxman: “Well done!” [patronisingly]

[Paxman’s Dog] “Come on, come on. Feed me, now! [barks loudly]

[NUJ representative enters stage left, says there’s a strike on and perhaps Jeremy might, with his reputed million quid a year salary, buy his dogs the equivalent of cats’ Dreamies]

The Intel Quiz: Now where was I?

I WAS IN JERUSALEM. It’s all coming back to me now. Not Jerusalem as in William Blake Jerusalem. Not Jerusalem as in Israel/Palestine. No.

Jerusalem in Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia. I arrived in a timely fashion only to find that because I was the only person from TG Daily there, I had to be formed into a team.

Luckily, Hill & Knowlton saw that I seemed to know the managing director of Intel UK – one Graham Palmer – and they shuffled me off to a table with five – or was it six – people that worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Last time this happened at an Intel Yule Quiz, there was me, Paul Hales and Martin Veitch and we came a very close second to the people from the Daily Mail – seemed to be dozens of them – a very competitive lot.

The good thing is all the BBC journalists are members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). We didn’t win. I don’t think. They were a fun lot though. Where’s Jill Franklin when you need her.

Channel 4 finds itself in sex-porn-cosmetics quandary

INTERESTING PROGRAMME on Channel Four tonight – contrasting the difference between sex education and pornography.

The lass presenting the prog made the valid  point that all women are different and that breasts are there to provide milk for babies. Her case was somewhat undermined by the adverts that interrupted the dialogues. For example, in the second break, there was an advert for Five Star Legs for Women that gets virtually every hair, to the tune of “I am your Venus”.

The first ad break talked of “satin like skin”. And then we had the Lindt Gold Bunny.  There was talk a while back of Channel 4 being absorbed by the BBC so it could become a public service broadcasting channel. This programme demonstrated the wisdom of such a move. Advertising always subverts journalism. Δ