Dear Mr Heath,
Firstly congratulations on your appointment to Defra. I am sure you'll be the most competent minister the beleaguered department has seen for decades, if ever. May badgers and Ash dieback be the worst things you have to deal with. I thought you came across very well on the subject of the badger cull on Radio 4.
Now to my point. I have a very specific question, that is:
Should the BBC be allowed to override its Charter requiring it to provide due balance?
The BBC Trust has stated that it “held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus” on anthropogenic climate change.
It now emerges that this policy decision was formed after a meeting of journalists and activists, with only three scientists present, only one of whom I have heard of (I have spent quite a lot of the last two years educating myself on climate science)
Is it OK for the BBC to brush aside its charter on the say so of vested interests in a secret meeting? The BBC has spent a six figure sum trying to conceal who was at the meeting. The list of attendees was found on the Wayback Machine by a sleuthing blogger...It was historically on a BBC site!
A further thought: Perhaps if the BBC is to retain public trust it should not resist embarrassing FOI requests on the basis that it is a private company and answerable to no one?
I would very much like to know what, if anything, you intend to do about this?
Update : Cassio at Bishop Hill kindly pointed out some errors with this letter.
Luckily I hadn't actually posted it at the time so have been able to amend it.