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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50170986
  • Date: 30 March 2009
  • Public Authority: Department for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Summary: On 31 January 2007 the complainant wrote to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to request information in relation to the European Commission’s ongoing investigation of the UK measures notified to the Commission under Article 3a Television with Frontiers Directive. The DCMS refused to disclose this information relying on sections 27(1)(b), 27(1)(d) and 27(2) of the Act (the international relations exemption). The Commissioner has concluded that the information requested by the complainant is exempt from disclosure on the basis of section 27(1)(b) and in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. The complainant submitted a further request for the same information on 21 December 2007. The DCMS did not consider this as a request for information under the Act rather as a request to re-open its decision to refuse the first request of 31 January 2007. The Commissioner has concluded that complainant’s letter of 21 December 2007 did constitute a valid request for information under the Act. However, the Commissioner has concluded that in December 2007, as in January 2007, the requested information was exempt from disclosure by virtue of section 27(1)(b) and the public interest favoured withholding the information. In handling the complainant’s two requests, the Commissioner has also concluded that the DCMS committed a number of procedural breaches of the Act.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]