FOI request detail

Removal of the Michael Jackson - Innocent adverts

Request ID: FOI-3418-1819
Date published: 12 April 2019

You asked

Can you please supply the decision making process that lead to the decision to remove the Michael Jackson - Innocent adverts from the London Buses To include who was consulted, who attended the meeting, the minutes of the meetings and the documented decision making process, all press releases and statements.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-3418-1819/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 14 March 2019 asking for information about the removal of the Michael Jackson - Innocent adverts.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.

Please find attached copies of the correspondence surrounding the decision to remove these adverts. Whilst the adverts did not breach TfL’s advertising policy, the guidelines also say that any advert will be unacceptable if:

(h) it contains images or messages which relate to matters of public controversy or sensitivity. Advertisements which are calculated to promote tolerance, discourage prejudice, or are consistent with TfL’s Public Sector Equality Duty, advertisements which are calculated to promote the right to life, liberty and security of the person, and advertisements which reasonably promote causes which are not party political, will however not normally be disapproved on this ground;

Given the level of public concern that developed around this campaign and concerns raised by victims’ charities after it began running on our network, we reviewed our position and decided to remove these advertisements.

Please note that in accordance with TfL’s obligations under Data Protection legislation some personal data has been removed from the attached correspondence, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the legislation, specifically the first principle which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions which would make the processing ‘fair’.

Additionally, we are not obliged to supply some of the information as it is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 42. In this instance the exemption has been applied as some of the information you have requested relates directly to the seeking, provision, and result of legal advice.

Section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act exempts legally privileged information, including legal advice, from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. There is a very strong element of public interest inbuilt into the concept of Legal Professional Privilege and this has long been recognised, by the Information Commissioner, the Information Tribunal and the courts, and it reflects the importance of legal advice being sought, and given, in confidence as a fundamental condition on which the administration of justice rests. There is an inherent public interest in TfL being able to obtain full and frank legal advice, and this is consistent with TfL’s responsibility to analyse and address legal risks and issues.

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London


Back to top

Want to make a request?

We'll email you the response within 20 working days.

We'll publish the response online without disclosing any personal information.