Martin Rosenbaum, former BBC Freedom of Information specialist on FOI, accountability and the Hutton Inquiry
Martin Rosenbaum was the leading specialist in utilising Freedom of Information at the BBC. As the former executive producer of political programmes at Westminster, he oversaw programmes such as 'Political Thinking' with Nick Robinson, and the 'Week in Westminster' as well as editing and producing numerous political documentaries. He had a ringside seat at the BBC during the Hutton Inquiry, the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly the government advisor who became embroiled in the controversy regarding the government's claim about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was one of the most damaging controversies in the BBC's history which led to the resignation of both the director general Greg Dyke and the chair Gavyn Davies. We discuss whether FOI changed journalism and politics and the lessons learnt from the Hutton Inquiry.
"We were trapped in a kind of groupthink, of feeling, 'We must really stand up to them. We've got to demonstrate our independence.' They didn't have the voices saying, 'Hang on a minute, is this intelligence really right?' We didn't have the voices saying, 'Hang on a minute, are you absolutely sure that every detail in this story is correct?'"
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