The BBC is refusing to disclose how much it spent on its royal wedding coverage, the anti-royalist campaign group Republic has claimed.
Under the Freedom of Information Act the BBC is exempt from releasing information relating to journalism, but Republic is now appealing to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Republic campaign manager Graham Smith said:
The only conclusion we can draw is that the BBC has something very embarrassing to hide.
There is a very significant public interest in knowing how licence fee-payers’ money is spent, particularly when it comes to highly controversial issues such as the monarchy.
An exemption introduced to protect the independence of the BBC was not intended to shield the corporation from legitimate scrutiny.”
Throughout its royal wedding coverage the BBC let itself be co-opted into the Palace PR machine. It’s time for the BBC to come clean, admit its mistake and move toward more objective and proportionate coverage of royal events.’
A statement on the BBC’s website said:
We never disclose precise costs of an individual programme.
However, the BBC is very experienced at covering high-profile national and international events and at getting the best possible value for money for the licence fee-payer.
Costs for covering the service in Westminster Abbey were shared with other broadcasters.
In April a BBC spokesperson confirmed to Press Gazette that more than 850 staff would be covering the wedding.