It has taken a great deal of effort and research, but bloggers and press should now be allowed to film in council meetings. I have now done so in both Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council meetings:

Check out the press release at:

Lights, camera, democracy in action
http://www.gov.uk/government/news/lights-camera-democracy-in-action

and the full guidance at:

Guidance
Your council’s cabinet: going to its meetings, seeing how it works
http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/your-councils-cabinet-going-to-its-meetings-seeing-how-it-works

“This guide provides the public with practical information about attending meetings of a council’s executive and obtaining council documents.

It is designed to help the public know when they can attend such meetings and what documents and information are available to them, now that there are new national rules to make councils more transparent and accountable to their local communities.

It should also help councillors and officers to comply with these rules which are based on a presumption in favour of openness.”

Download the PDF and check out P/6

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.

However, as you might expect, some are still finding resistance!!

 

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