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back to article FOlA judges: Secret 28 who made the BBC Green will not be named

As expected, the BBC has won its legal battle against blogger Tony Newbery. Newbery wanted the list of "scientific experts" who attended a BBC seminar at which, according to the BBC Trust, they convinced the broadcaster to abandon impartiality and take a firmly warmist position when reporting climate change. When the Beeb …

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Anonymous Coward

Stunning

And well done for being the only media outlet in the world, from what I can see, who reported this important trial.

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Re: Stunning

Right - I haven't seen this anywhere else either.

I'm very disappointed that the BBC has acted in this way and been supported in doing so.

"widespread disquiet from supporters of the BBC about the disparity between its declarations of intent on transparency, and the reality" is right.

I do think Montford's guide to this ought to be available free of charge BTW.

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Holmes

Re: Stunning

While we're at it, we demand equal time for creationism; last year's Darwin propaganda was shocking. I think we should insist on taxpayer money being wasted wining and dining obscurantist lobbyists while time spent on fringe loonies should increase.

Sincerely,

A. Raving Monster Looney

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Re: Stunning

Sorry if I misunderstand your sarcastic post, but do you think the theory that anthropomorphic global warming with CO2 as the main driver of change is a theory with as strong a foundation as that behind evolution? I and many others would certainly like to see the proof behind that insinuation.

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Re: Stunning

And yet when I suggested the other day in a reg comments section that the BBC was not impartial I got nought but downvotes...

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Law
Facepalm

@Marv Re: Stunning

For me at least at this point it's not even about the fact they opted out of being impartial really (your silly comparison with creationists aside) .. it's that the cheeky buggers based their decision on a forum that has no minutes, wasn't widely acknowledged, and they refuse to even release the attendees/speakers list.

If the arguments there were so compelling, and the people who went to this didn't go on condition of anonymity - then why are they so concerned about keeping it all hush hush - and why are they wasting our money keeping it secret. They're clearly protecting their own arses...

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Re: Stunning

Depend how many (very probably non-IT) political trolls are infesting the web.

Given the BBC Savile/Newsnight fiasco they are probably mostly targetting the less specialised mainstream sites. Still a few around though. I think some of them like this site because they confuse 'ignoring their stupidity' with 'accepting their stupidity'.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Marv Stunning

@Law: The thing is that a lot of top scientists just want to do their job and won't speak at events like this if they can't be anonymous. Many have found that they get extremely hostile emails, snail mail and character assassination on the Internet, should they appear in public and dare to speak about the subject which they are expert in. When you spend the next month dealing with FOI requests from people who don't know enough about your subject to understand the questions that they are asking, I can see why. There is no funding stream for dealing with the public in the vast majority of research posts and it ends up coming out of their own time.

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Re: @Marv Stunning

Whilst I can fully understand scientists' frustrations here, some of the major movers-and-shakers in climate science have brought (at least some of) this down on themselves. They've reacted, understandably, to circle-the-wagons against outside pressure and they've not always been transparent. Sometimes they've been downright deceitful, and that's made things worse.

This area is way too important for people to be keeping their methods and data secret - as well as that being fundamentally against the scientific method.

It's a shame that this has become so nasty and politicised, but this science can't avoid politics. The implications, if the most catastrophic models are correct, require the spending of hundreds of billions by most of the worlds governments - and massive changes to the global economy. The level of debate from the senior people on the 'warmist' side has been absolutely appalling, and polarised things even more. Whoever is 'right', there seem to be a good few idiots on both sides who damned well ought to know better.

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Anonymous Coward

Already written to my MP

asking why a 'private' organisation should be funded by tax.

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Re: Already written to my MP

In the case of the BBC this is to (in theory at least) prevent it from being an organ of the state - if it is not 'private' it can't so easily be impartial.

How successful any of this is can be debated at length but I don't see anything fundamentally wrong with the basic idea of a publicly funded broadcaster that has its own independence.

I'd rather have the BBC than not, although the matters discussed in this article are deeply troubling.

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Joke

Re: Already written to my MP

You'd have done better to get yourself re-classified as a public organization, and ask for a $1 (sorry, I don't have a Pound or Euro key) per head tax for support of your public mission.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Already written to my MP

Re: Lord Voldemortgage

There is a difference between being a private organisation and being an independent organisation.

The BBC can be independent of state influence, but still be subject to public scrutiny.

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Anonymous Coward

B.B.C

Biased, Bloated and Corrupt

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Anonymous Coward

BBC: SCREW YOU, BRITS!

essentially

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Anonymous Coward

Justice is served

We have a justice system for a reason, and it has done it's job. Of course those who don't like the results will try to make out that there's something wrong with the judgement. I don't see why the "purposes of journalism" reasoning shouldn't apply here; in fact the very fact that climate-change-denier attack dogs are so desperate to get the names of the individuals who advised the BBC makes me think it's a good thing if they are protected as a journalistic source. I applaud the BBC's stance as well; we see for example in the case of the MMR jab scare the perils of the media presenting two sides of an argument as if they are equal, when in fact there is overwhelming scientific consensus on one side of the argument; that is a gross distortion of the truth, and misleads the public. The BBC's stance on climate change reflects the overwhelming scientific consensus on that topic, and thus avoids similar distortion, and it's great to see them taking such a sensible stance.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Justice is served

Oooh err - "climate-change-denier attack dogs" eh?

Are they anything like "running dogs of capitalism"?

(but probably not like "cheese eating surrender monkeys" or "denier attack-change climate gerbils"?)

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IT Angle

Re: Justice is served

Not so fast ...

IPCC4 claims to use only peer reviewed materials, and as we have found actually includes press releases which have no basis in fact or egregious errors, and in fact just recently in Oz 2 peer reviewed papers have had to been withdrawn due to horrednous errors.

The BBC claims to had the top 28 in the field (or somesuch) but how do we know ?

I am sure of I were to get, say, 28 salesmen form Sachs Goldman in the room I could convince the BBC to have an IPO .

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Justice is served

Scientists should stand behind their views and those views should be made public so that they can be checked by other scientists. There's a simple reason for this, the scientists are experts explaining their field to lay people and as a result could quite easily just spout bullshit and be believed. If they want to be advisors to a publicly funded organisation there's no reason they can't do it openly.

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Childcatcher

Re: Justice is served

If you got 28 oil industry execs to lobby the Bbc, the green lobby groups would be all over it like a rash. This case simply shows it's ok for anonymous lobby groups to influence Bbc editorial policy. They will be protected.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Justice is served - BBC fail

Legal precedent aside it is obvious that the BBC do not want to publish the names for the simple reason that there were no, or very few, 'real' climate scientists amongst the 28 at this meeting and thus are worried about their policy being questioned.

The fact that the BBC has gone to such lengths to protect these names proves there was probably little scientific input to the policy and until they can prove otherwise it will rightly be assumed that those in attendance were not as the BBC quote 'scientific experts'. So actually the BBC have shot themselves in the foot; by hidind the details of the attendees they are effectively admitting they can not support the policy on scientific grounds.

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Holmes

Presumably the fact the BBC want to hide the info so badly

Is because the climate change Chihuahua's would be shown to be correct.

Which would make people who use phrases like 'Climate Change Debier Attack Dogs' seems a bit, well, like Apple fanbois or Creationists.

Oh, and it'd embarrass the Government immensely which is more likely the reason for the judgement.

It's also about time a distinction was drawn between Climate-sceptics and Anthro-sceptics. The former being folk who deny the bleeding obvious and the latter being folk rightly suspicious of the lobbying from a darn lucrative industry.

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Re: Presumably the fact the BBC want to hide the info so badly

The whole issue is a mix of propaganda, science, facts, opinions and (semi-religious?) belief. There is no longer any distinction made in the MSM between:

- Natural Climate Change (going on before mankind existed)

- Catastrophic Anthropomorphic Global Warming (unhelpfully alarmist on so many levels).

And the people who point out the proven history of the power of natural climate change as a basis for querying the CAGW are now portrayed in the MSM as 'climate deniers', when they're the ones acknowledging the power of the climate.

It's worth remembering that, to survive, mankind needed technology to protect against and relieve some of the effects of natural climate change. Now we're being asked to believe that we should rely less on such protection, and instead divert those resources to making the climate behave 'normally'? And in the process make some unscrupulous people very, very rich?

This is why it is important that the BBC should be open about how it sources it's policy on CAGW, because we need to know if the BBC is pushing propaganda or science. It is very worrying that they spend so much money on lawyers in order to keep this secret, when it plays such a large part in shaping public opinion, and probably government policy.

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Anonymous Coward

As an outsider

It seems strange that you would fund the BBC by taxing honest people.

Surely that simply teaches the public that there is a low risk financial advantage to being dishonest.

Succeeding in that area might be just the encouragement they need to cheat in other areas. Income tax, for example. Why not fund it out of consolidated revenue?

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Compulsary tax

It's funded by a compulsory tax?

Is the government forcing you to install televisions now?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Compulsary tax

The license is for any device capable of receiving live or near live television broadcasts.

Conveniently that now includes your computer and mobile phone.

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Re: Compulsary tax

Wrong, it's needed for a household using any devices to receive live television broadcasts.

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I agree

As a public service, they should disclose that information.

I can't agree with people who deny fact, but here you do have a point, Andrew.

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Without lawyers...

It looks as if the Tribunal was biased against Mr Newbery because he had not shelled out for expensive lawyers.

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One small thought...

The BBC played the "we are a private company" line, yes? Well, as a private company, I guess they no longer have need for a publicly funded tax to support them.

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Unhappy

"Impartiality"

When exactly was that word excised from the nation's dictionaries?

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TV licences aren't exactly compulsory.

As per the title. You can't truly call the TV licence a compulsory tax, don't have a TV don't pay.

Regardless, this case was clearly decided correctly and I'm not entirely sure how anyone can argue otherwise.

The "purposes of jounalism" protection is intended for exactly this as far as I can see, the BBC consulted with a group of experts for purposes of producing journalistic TV show. So the protection cause is specifically intended for protecting their identity.

As journalistic organisation they have has much right to protect their sources as any privately owned Newspaper or other TV news channel. If you disagree with this then you're frankly silly.

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Re: TV licences aren't exactly compulsory.

"as I can see, the BBC consulted with a group of experts for purposes of producing journalistic TV show"

That's the whole problem - it wasn't about a TV show, it was about changing their interpretation of their statutory obligations. If they'd interviewed, for example, 28 people in Northern Ireland anonymously to get an insight into life in times of terrorist violence, fair enough, or they had a whistleblower telling them about MPs bogus expenses claims - THAT is what the exemption is supposed to be for.

Moreover, the BBC said it was based on "scientists" ... now they're back-tracking on that and admitting that the 28 actually included (unnamed) political activists and others, but refusing to be more specific. Were there any actual scientists, or just pressure group representatives? Shouldn't we know, before billions of pounds of our money get spent on it?

With private companies, we have the option of switching to an alternative supplier: if I felt Tesco were being dodgy, I could buy my shopping in Asda instead. With public entities like the NHS, I don't have that option, but it's accountable through the ballot box instead. The BBC, alone, seems to think it should be exempt from *both* safeguards, accountable neither to its customers in a free market nor to our elected representatives like everything else from the Post Office to the NHS. Why should it get such special treatment?

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FAIL

Re: TV licences aren't exactly compulsory.

The TV license is tax by another name. If you want to watch TV, you have to pay the license, even if you don't want to anything to do with the Bolshevik Broadcasting Charlatans. Of course, Auntie Beeb is protected on high, so there was never any way little people (or license fee payers as they call them) were going to win.

This was nothing to do with protecting journalism. This was a means of deciding BBC bias, in spite of their so-called impartiality. All protected by expensive lawyers and cloak-and-dagger meetings behind closed doors.

It's the same as the tax on petrol - you don't want to pay, don't drive - still a tax though.

So yes, the license is a tax, pure and simple. To deny it makes you a BBC apologist or easily lead.

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Meh

Re: TV licences aren't exactly compulsory.

As per the title. You can't truly call the TV licence a compulsory tax, don't have a TV device capable of receiving a video signal, don't pay.

There, I fixed it for you.

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Devil

He he...

Just waiting now for Newsnight to do an expose naming the individuals.

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Re: TV licences aren't exactly compulsory.

Firstly, I was apparantly incorrect in my understanding of this situation so kudos to those that corrected me.

Secondly, Stephen 11:

"As per the title. You can't truly call the TV licence a compulsory tax, don't have a device capable of receiving a video signal, don't pay.

There, I fixed it for you."

Inaccurate correction is inaccurate. A TV licence is only required for watching/recording broadcast TV as it is broadcast. A TV licence is not required for watching on-demand video services such as iplayer (with the exception of where such a service is used to watch broadcast TV rather than on demand content).

Additionally your phrasing implies you think a license is required to own a television regardless of whether you actually receive broadcasts with it, which is not true at all. A number of people I know own TV sets which they use purely as monitors via HDMI etc, and they do not have or need a TV licence. One of them even went to the effort of getting a letter from the licensing agency to that effect.

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Re: TV licences aren't exactly compulsory.

(Almost) all taxes can be avoided by simply not participating in the activity which is being taxed - including income tax. That doesn't make them "not taxes" or "not compulsory" and I don't see why the licence fee is any different.

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So....

Next time a guy falls to his death are we going to see a tirade against the BBCs unquestioned acceptance of the theory of Gravity? Will we be hearing from advocates of the intelligent falling theory decrying the bias?

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Angel

Re: So....

0/10 would not troll with. Or maybe has a defect in logic sequencer? Can't tell.

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FAIL

Re: So....

Those responsible for the theory of gravity and its continued research are are in the public domain.

The people who persuaded the BBC to abandon impartiality over climate change are not, this is the issue.

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Re: So....

The BBC has made no such statement so your premise is not valid.

This case sucks - effectively saying we are not impartial but you can't really know why.

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FAIL

Listen sunshine...

If there was shred of evidence for CO2 lala-ness I wouldn't be taking you to task (unless it's irony you're trying in which case it's lost on me)

However - that has SFA to do with this case. I'd have expected the BBC to proudly parade it's association with prominent scientists and other folk well qualified to comment on the state of play in this area -but they haven't - far, far worse they have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds battling disclosure.

This is a clear sign that they were actually up to no good.

The risible inclusion of wholly compromised "lay judges" only intensifies the putrid stench emanating from this affair as does the inexcusable outpourings of the QC heading the panel (I can't bring myself to call it a court)

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I am full of admiration for Tony Newbery in pursuing the matter as far as he has and congratulate Andrew on his coverage

I earnestly hope that Tony has the will and the stamina to continue.

Having seen several toxic "lay judges" in action - I feel that far too many are crony appointments and utterly out of their depth - which generally makes them biased and arbitrary with little regard for evidence or legal issues - in one case just plain bonkers... These two looked like they were picked for an outcome....

I for one volunteer that if Tony needs funding to continue - I'll stump up at least the price of a TV licence.

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Meh

Ain't the BBC great

Broadcasting completely false accusations of child molestation with absolutely zero attempt to corroborate or verify the claims - purely as a smoke screen to distract from their 30 year nurturing of one of the most vile paedo's in history. And as if that wasn't bad enough, they continue to promote catastrophic man-made global warming - the greatest financial and scientific hoax in history - using every available programme and channel - including Ceebies - making them responsible for the abuse of children in more ways than one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ain't the BBC great

Stay where you are, I've called the hyperbole Police and they'll be with you shortly.

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Meh

Self Represent?

That's a really stupid idea in any court or tribunal. It's a really good way to lose your case and not even get another chance. It's a really extra stupid bad idea if you're going up with a monster like BBC.

The whole thing does sound fishy though.

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Re: Self Represent?

So what you're saying is that the public isn't able to hold the government/establishment to account? I rather doubt the guy could afford legal representation, but he's pursuing a legitimate public interest. Even if there's also a perfectly reasonable argument on the other side as well.

The whole point of setting up non-legal tribunals and FOI requests should be to allow normal people to represent themselves. So long as they're not idiots they should easily be able to make the necessary logical case - even if they need a bit of help, understanding and guidance in how to do cross-examination. If the tribunal can have lay-panellists, then there's no reason why there should need to be legal representation from either party. Although obviously a barrister is trained to put an argument professionally, so if you've got the money, they're the right person to use.

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