Rebel News filed a freedom of information request into the UK government about the involvement of left-wing billionaire in a London media freedom conference, co-organized by the Canadian government. Eight months worth of delays later and UK officials are telling us they have too much information to give us and we need to try again!
The conference was sponsored by eBay billionaire media mogul Pierre Omidyar — who gave a 4.5 million dollar gift to the conference. Omidiyar runs publications like Rappler and The Intercept that repeat his ideological message — it’s anti-Trump, anti-conservative, anti-populist and Omidyar has been a funder of the so-called never Trump “Resistance”.
When we attended the conference, much to the disappointment of Global Affairs minister Chrystia Freeland who did her best to keep us out, Ezra grilled a panel of people on Omidyar's payroll who were presenting themselves as unbiased journalists, defending freedom and running a supposedly unbiased government conference.
We wanted to know how this whole weird conference came to be under the thumb of Omidyar.
We asked the UK government — the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to be specific — to provide “copies of documents including emails, contract funding agreements, etc regarding the role of Pierre Omidyar and his organizations in the Global Conference for Media Freedom”.
We sent our first request to the UK Foreign Office right after the conference, on July 8th 2019. By August 5th 2019 we got our first delay, with the FCO insisting they “will need additional time to consider the public interest test in relation to this exemption and hope to send you a substantive response by September 2nd”.
Now, after eight months of some other excuse, the FCO says that after “completed searches, we are not able to provide information due to the amount of information held by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that may fall within the scope of your request” and that we should “consider refining our request”.
And at no point over the last eight months in all the letters they sent us, has the UK government ever raised an issue about too much information, nor did they ever suggest to us to narrow our request for information.
There is a real irony that the Foreign Office is fighting a freedom of information request from a media organization wanting records about a government organized media freedom conference.
What on Earth is the UK government trying to hide? We are going to keep digging to find what the UK government, the Canadian government and this anti-Trump billionaire were saying behind closed doors.