Still in a pickle over council filming

Since local government minister Eric Pickles told councils they should be open to filming, photography, blogging and tweeting, there have been further rows, with members of the public being ejected and councillors calling the police – including one incident in Mr Pickles’ own constituency, one in Cambridgeshire and one in Tower Hamlets. Councils are using the excuse that they have to make changes to their constitutions before they can allow filming, but they’re taking their time about it – the relevant legislation was introduced in September 2012. You have to wonder why, when national parliaments and the London Assembly are filmed, councils are so camera-shy.


One thought on “Still in a pickle over council filming

  1. Robert Telford

    There is a very recent publication that reinforces the Governments edicts on this issue. It is published by the DCLG in June 2013, titled ; Your council’s cabinet – going to its meetings, seeing how it works – A guide for local people. Page 6 has the following statement;
    Can I film the meeting?
    Council meetings are public meetings. Elected representatives and council officers acting in the public sphere should expect to be held to account for their comments and votes in such meetings. The rules require councils to provide reasonable facilities for any member of the public to report on meetings. Councils should thus allow the filming of councillors and officers at meetings that are open to the public.
    The Data Protection Act does not prohibit such overt filming of public meetings. Councils may reasonably ask for the filming to be undertaken in such a way that it is not disruptive or distracting to the good order and conduct of the meeting. As a courtesy, attendees should be informed at the start of the meeting that it is being filmed; we recommend that those wanting to film liaise with council staff before the start of the meeting.
    The council should consider adopting a policy on the filming of members of the public speaking at a meeting, such as allowing those who actively object to being filmed not to be filmed, without undermining the broader transparency of the meeting.
    Will I be able to tweet or blog council meetings?
    Similarly under the new rules there can be social media reporting of meetings. Thus bloggers, tweeters, facebook and YouTube users, and individuals with their own website, should be able to report meetings. You should ask your council for details of the facilities they are providing for citizen journalists.
    Of course, all the normal exemptions apply, and they are also set out in the guide.


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