Calls for public to be allowed to film council’s meetings
1:00pm Monday 29th October 2012 in News
THE Plaid Cymru group on Carmarthenshire county council has started a process which could lead to the public being allowed to use their mobile phones and other recording devices to film council and committee meetings.
A key point in the long-awaited report on e-government, presented to the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee, recommended that the council should pilot both audio and film broadcasting of council meetings.
Cllr Darren Price, Plaid Cymru member for Gorslas, moved an amendment that the public should also be allowed to make their own recordings.
The amendment, supported by Labour and Independent councillors, will now be considered by the council’s ruling Executive Board.
Speaking after the committee meeting, Cllr Price said: “I’m extremely pleased to have cross-party agreement on my calls to allow members of the public to undertake their own filming of council meetings.
“The report on e-government noted the importance of ensuring proceedings are more transparent while understandably not wanting to add further substantial costs to the authority’s budget.
“In a digital age where most mobile phones already have camcorders built in, I think it’s sensible to allow members of the public to undertake their own recordings should they wish.
“I’m hopeful that the Executive Board will support the idea, given the cross-party support it received at the Scrutiny Committee.”
In seconding the amendment, Cllr Alun Lenny pointed out that giving people the right to film council meetings has been strongly advocated by Eric Pickles, the local government minister for England, who said that council openness needs to be updated for the 21st century. More and more news about what happens in council meetings comes from internet bloggers.
“Unfortunately, this council has a reputation for being less than open and transparent in its proceedings,” said Cllr Lenny. “That is the perception among many people.
“Allowing the public to record proceedings would go a long way towards banishing that perception.”
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