BBC comes clean but how many journalists earn more than £100k?

The BBC paid its staff £16 million in bonuses in the past year, has trebled the number of staff earning more than £100,000 in the past five years, and pays its female TV news reporters £6,500 on average less than men.

But it won't tell Press Gazette how many of its journalists earn more than £100,000 a year.

The BBC, along with Channel 4 and Welsh broadcaster S4C, are only required to respond to FoI requests "in respect of information held for purposes other than journalism, art or literature".

Press Gazette submitted a request under the Act one year ago, asking how many BBC journalists earn more than £100,000, and for details of the 10 highest bonuses awarded to journalists.

The request was rejected, because the questions were "outside the scope of the Act" as they concerned the corporation's journalists.

However, on the BBC's website there are hundreds of successful FoI requests, many of which refer specifically to journalism.

A BBC spokesperson said: "Press Gazette's FoI request was denied because the information asked for was too broad."

A landmark ruling set for next year could change public broadcasters' obligations under the Act entirely.

Last year London solicitor Steven Sugar used the Act to ask the BBC for a copy of a report by senior editorial director Malcolm Balen on its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2004.

The BBC refused, on the grounds the report related to journalism, but Sugar appealed and in August an Information Commission tribunal ruled that his request was properly made and that the Balen report should be made public.

Sugar said: "I read in the press that it [the report] had been written but not published, and I wanted to see it. But it is a much bigger issue now, about how the BBC responds generally to the FoI Act and its accessibility.

"The derogation is there to protect investigative journalism, but it is being exploited."

A final decision will be made at the High Court next year.

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