Thursday, 31 March 2011

Stopped from Filming a Council Public Meeting

Again in the interests of transparency and so members of the public can see our wonderful planning department and committee in action I decided to film a snapshot of the proceedings.
As you will see from the video below (and on You Tube) I was stopped by the Council solicitor. Apparently it is not allowed (although I remember them allowing the BBC to film in the Chamber when Prince Charles' application went in front of the Committee a couple of years back - but I guess I am not Prince Charles..or the BBC am I?) Anyhow, like my previous attempts I believe I was acting in the public interest, at a public meeting, where elected councillors were doing their public duty. The Council officers are paid out of the public purse, therefore their actions should be transparent too. Surely they have nothing to hide?
I fail to understand their attitude and would have thought such actions would be welcomed as a means of direct accountability to the public. Obviously not. Perhaps it is the lack of control over the presentation of such footage which they object to.
I was also asked to give my name and address at the end of the meeting, I am not sure why, anyway I left before the end and didn't oblige. If they really want to know it will not be hard to find out.
I'll be back

31st March 2011
I have uploaded the video above onto You Tube and also a couple of others filmed briefly before I was noticed and stopped. I must add that there was no 'hidden camera' I was there for all to see. Apologies again for the quality.

and thanks to fellow blogger from Rhondda CT for the link; Candid With a Carmarthenshire Camera

Update 2nd April
A short appeal to anyone with a smartphone/recording device who happens to go to the public gallery in Carmarthenshire Council Chamber; (after you've got through the first barrier - THE DOOR TO THE PUBLIC GALLERY IS ALWAYS LOCKED and you have to trail around County Hall and several flights of stairs to get someone to open it)
Next time you are there, film/record the meeting - if enough people do this they might get the message.


Anonymous said...

Is it really 2011? Well, it is in other parts of the U.K. Not here in Carmarthenshire tho! They just can't seem to catch up. What a great gesture it would have been if they simply allowed this public meeting to be filmed, as happens at Westminster. Perhaps they need reminding that they are public servants after all, and everything they have to say at a public meeting is for the public to hear.

caebrwyn said...

Quite - and where is Eric Pickles when you need him!

Anonymous said...

Considering we are the most spied upon people in the world, it is quite astonishing that servants of the public, conducting public affairs, at a public meeting, funded by the public, are displaying such nervousness at the sight of a camera! They clearly do not wish to accept M.P.Eric Pickle's suggestions that these council meetings be filmed, to be put on forums, in order that members of the public who work each day and cannot get to these meetings can follow council practices. Eric Pickles M.P. clearly believes they have a duty to the public. CCC clearly do not agree.

marianne said...

It is so obvious that they are breaking the law as it is indeed a public meeting. Therefore the only conclusion is: they have something or everything to hide! Absolute ridiculous how the spokesperson reacted, but fantastic that you kept going and stated "I am not doing anything wrong, it is a public meeting". Perhaps we should all turn up next time at a public meeting with our cameras!

caebrwyn said...

perhaps I should mention that as a Community Councillor I, personally, would welcome anyone who wanted to film/record a meeting. In fact it would be great!