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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50067416
  • Date: 8 January 2008
  • Public Authority: BBC
  • Summary: The complainant asked the BBC who the highest earner at BBC Northern Ireland was and the details of their salary. The BBC refused to disclose this information maintaining that it was exempt under section 40 of the Act. The Commissioner has reviewed the requested information and has decided that whilst it would be a breach of the Data Protection Act to disclose the exact salary of the highest earner, it would not be a breach of the Data Protection Act to disclose the pay band within which the highest earner fell along with their name. The complainant also requested information on the payments made to several named television presenters, and the costs of producing John Daly’s television show. The BBC refused to provide the information on the basis that it was not a public authority in relation to this request because the information was held for the purposes of journalism, art or literature within the meaning set out in Schedule 1 of the Act. As an alternative argument the BBC has applied the exemptions under section 40, section 43 and section 41 to withhold this information from the complainant. Having considered the purposes for which this information is held, the commissioner has concluded that the requested information was not held for the dominant purposes of journalism, art or literature and therefore the request falls within the scope of the Act. However, the Commissioner has concluded that the information relating to payments to presenters are exempt by virtue of section 40 of the Act and that the information relating to programme costs is exempt by viture of section 43 of the Act.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]