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February 15, 2012 5:32 pm

BBC to Keep Internal Israel Bias Memo Secret, Judge Orders

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British Supreme Court. Photo: wiki commons.

The BBC won a politically charged case in the British Supreme Court today.

The case surrounded an internal corporate investigation into whether the British broadcasting giant is anti-Israel in it’s coverage of Middle East affairs.  The report was undertaken by Malcolm Balen in 2004 following a number of complaints that the BBC was anti-Israel in it’s coverage.

In 2005, a man named Steve Sugar requested the report become public, under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act enacted in 2000.

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Following the BBC’s denial of his request, Sugar took his case to numerous British courts, including the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.  Today, the Supreme Court upheld previous decisions held in the BBC’s favor, as they argued the information was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act because it was being used for the “purposes of journalism, art or literature.”

“There is a powerful public interest that the public service broadcasters, no less than the commercial media, should be free to gather, edit and publish news and comment on current affairs without the inhibition of an obligation to make public disclosure of or about their work,” said Lord Wilson of the British Supreme Court in a statement.

The BBC released a statement of their own, applauding the court’s decision.

‘We welcome the Supreme Court’s judgment, which upholds the rulings of other courts in this case, and will ensure that the BBC is afforded the space to conduct its journalistic activities freely.  Independent journalism requires honest and open internal debate free from external pressures. This ruling enables us to continue to do that.’

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