Sugar v The British Broadcasting Commission and Another (No 2): CA 23 Jun 2010

The respondent had had prepared a report as to the balance of its reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Earlier proceedings had established that the purposes of the holding of the reporting included jurnalism. The claimant now appealed against an order by the Information Tribunal saying that if the purposes included journalism, then other purposes for its being held could not remove the exemption from disclosure.
Held: The claimant’s appeal failed. A court acting on an appeal from a specialist tribunal should take extra care to respect that tribunal’s expertise. The court’s task is to correct any error of law.
The dominant purpose test in Waugh was not applicable here. ‘Provided there is a genuine journalistic purpose for which the information is held, it should not be subject to FOIA. After all, there must be a great deal of information held by the BBC which is not solely held for journalistic purposes, if ‘journalism’ is given the meaning which the Tribunal accorded to it, and it could well have a chilling effect on BBC journalism and could well operate unfairly on the BBC against its commercial rivals, if any document held for journalistic purposes and another purpose was liable to be disclosed to the public.’ It was not necessary to claim exemption for the dominant purpose to be for journalism.

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury MR, Moses, Munby LJJ
[2010] EWCA Civ 715, [2010] WLR (D) 157, [2010] EMLR 24, [2010] 1WLR 2262
Bailii, WLRD
Freedom of Information Act 2000
England and Wales
At ITSugar v Information Commissioner IT 29-Aug-2006
IT At this preliminary hearing the Tribunal finds that at the time of the request made by Mr Sugar to the BBC for a copy of the Balen Report it was held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or . .
At ITSugar v Information Commissioner IT 29-Aug-2006
The Preliminary Issue before the Information Tribunal
The Tribunal decided on 2 March 2006, under its rule 10 procedure (summary disposal of appeals – The Information Tribunal (Enforcement Appeals) Rules 2005 (the Rules), in the absence of the . .
See AlsoBritish Broadcasting Corporation v Sugar and Another Admn 27-Apr-2007
The applicant sought publication of a report prepared for the respondent as to the even handedness of its reporting of matters in the middle east. The BBC had refused saying that the release of the report would have direct impact on its ability to . .
See AlsoSugar and Another v British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) CA 25-Jan-2008
The court upheld Davis J’s decision that neither the Commissioner nor the Tribunal had had any jurisdiction to entertain Mr Sugar’s challenges to the BBC’s refusal to disclose the Balen report. . .
At HLSugar v British Broadcasting Corporation and Another HL 11-Feb-2009
The Corporation had commissioned a report as to its coverage of Middle East issues. The claimant requested a copy, and the BBC refused saying that the report having been obtained for its own journalistic purposes, and that it was not covered by the . .
At ITSugar v Information Commissioner IT 14-May-2009
. .
Appeal fromBritish Broadcasting Corporation v Sugar and Another Admn 2-Oct-2009
Disclosure was sought of a report prepared by the BBC to assess the balance of its coverage of middle east affairs. The BBC said that the information was not held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature. One issue was whether . .
CitedSecretary of State for the Home Department v AH (Sudan) and others HL 14-Nov-2007
The three respondents had fled persecution in Darfur. They sought asylum which was refused, and they now appealed. It was argued that whilst they had a well founded fear of persecution in Dhafur, that would not apply if they returned to Khartoum. . .
CitedRevenue and Customs v Procter and Gamble UK CA 20-May-2009
The court was asked whether Pringles are ‘similar to potato crisps and made from the potato?’ Toulson LJ discussed the need for appellate courts to respect the special knowledge of tribunals: ‘Where a Tribunal has taken into account all relevant . .
DistinguishedWaugh v British Railways Board HL 12-Jul-1979
No Litigation Privilege without Dominant Purpose
An internal report had been prepared by two of the Board’s officers two days after a collision involving the death of a locomotive driver, whose widow brought the action and now sought its production.
Held: The court considered litigation . .
CitedGoodwin v The United Kingdom ECHR 27-Mar-1996
An order for a journalist to reveal his source was a breach of his right of free expression: ‘The court recalls that freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and that the safeguards to be afforded to . .
CitedTarsasag A Szabadsagjogokert v Hungary ECHR 14-Apr-2009
The court upheld a complaint by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union that, contrary to article 10, it had been refused access to details of a complaint in connection with drugs policy on the basis that details of the complaint could not be released, . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromSugar v British Broadcasting Corporation and Another (2) SC 15-Feb-2012
The claimant sought release of a report prepared by the respondent as to its coverage of the Arab/Israel conflict partly for journalistic purposes, and partly for compliance.
Held: The appeal failed. Where the report was prepared even if only . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Information, Media

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.417715