The BBC has been accused of "shameful hypocrisy" over its decision to spend 200,000 pounds blocking a freedom of information request about its reporting in the Middle East. The corporation, which has itself made extensive use of FOI requests in its journalism, is refusing to release papers about an internal inquiry into whether its reporting has been biased towards Palestine.
BBC chiefs have been accused of wasting thousands of pounds of licence fee payers money trying to cover-up the findings of the so called Balen Report into its journalism in the region, despite the fact that the corporation is funded by the British public. The corporation is fighting a landmark High Court action, which starts next week, in a bid to prevent the public finding out what is in the review, which is believed to be critical of the BBC's coverage in the region.
BBC bosses have faced repeated claims that is coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict has been skewed by a pro-Palestianian bias. The corporation famously came under fire after middle-east correspondent Barbara Plett revealed that she had cried at the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004.
The BBC's decision to carry on pursuing the case, despite the fact than the Information Tribunal said it should make the report public, has sparked fury as it flies in the face of claims by BBC chiefs that it is trying to make the corporation more open and transparent. Politicians have branded the BBC's decision to carry on spending money, hiring the one of the country's top public law barrister in the process, as "absolutely indefensible".
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