The national media is starting to pick up on the unfolding story of members of the public challenging their local authorities over the right to film or otherwise record public meetings.
In an unlikely pairing, both The Telegraph and Private Eye have so far featured the various wrangles going on up and down the land and which we are mapping.
On the ‘Rotten Boroughs’ page, the Eye features Tower Hamlets and Keighley among the councils to get into disputes with local residents and says:
Despite guidance published by the Department for Communities and Local Government specifying that transparency was to be encouraged, many councils have continued to obstruct citizen journalists – often citing spurious ‘health and safety’ or legal reasons.
Communities minister Eric Pickles said a council had “lost the plot” after police were called in to remove members of the public – many of them over 60 – who tried to film a local council meeting.
Since then, the town’s MP has waded into the row there and called for more protests to take place. We are tracking this story via the map and here with each update.
Among the latest cases we’ve mapped, there’s also a great example of a council taking a common sense approach to a request to film. Although Bradford City Council didn’t have suitable standing orders to allow for filming, the council simply took a vote to allow one local pensioner to undertake filming and we hear that Leeds journalism students were also invited in to make an audio recording which also featured in a radio report.
We’ll keep tracking this issue so lease do let us know how your local council reacts.
You can tweet us @talkaboutlocal, add information into the comments below or add it directly onto the map as follows:
– go to the noticeboard http://filming.n0tice.com – sign up or log in to n0tice.com
– click on the blue ‘post’ button - click on ‘report’ - enter the location, in the headline box put the name of the council and the URL to your video or tweet.
– click to post.
Your entry will automatically update on the map. It has been created using the Maptastica.com app which is part of the free open journalism toolkit which Talk About Local has been helping to develop. It can be embedded on your own blog or website too.
A full copy of the guidelines is available below – the confusion has crept into the system because they only cover councils which have an executive or cabinet structure and some authorities such as parish and town councils simply don’t operate that way.