In true PR style, the document leads with perhaps the most hypocritical and nonsensical piece; 'Promoting Local Democracy and Transparency'. I believe my cynicism is well founded. I can't even begin to describe how far removed the council's concept of 'openness' is from the rest of the real world, yesterday's blogpost concerning press control is just one example, and the oppressive and unlawful entry ritual to the public gallery will hardly 'encourage more people to come along...'
The section ends with news that the committee review of e-government will recommend a trial of filming and webcasting council meetings. It all sounds a little bitter and appears to have been written between well-gritted teeth and is hardly in the spirit of 'promoting transparency'. I am also amazed, given present circumstances, with the use of the word 'frivolous' in the first sentence.
Having said all that it would be extremely churlish of me not to welcome such a move, as presumably I am the single campaigner referred to. I also hope the recommendations include how members of the public, who wish to make their own recordings, will be welcomed with open arms. Anyway, I suggest they take the pilot forward without delay, or that 'single campaigner' will be back with her camera when meetings kick off again in the Autumn.
Whilst we are anxious not to waste local taxpayer’s money with frivolous or perceived populist ideas, we will shortly receive the findings of the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee review of E-Government which is recommending that the council trial the filming and webcasting of Council meetings. Such a pilot would enable us to judge whether there is a genuine interest across the County with ordinary members of the public, rather than single campaigners
(Taken from the document)
Update to previous post; County Hall and press control
Press Gazette reports on Carmarthenshire Council's threat to the South Wales Guardian. There is a quote from the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists;
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “It is wholly unacceptable for a local authority or any other public body to withdraw advertising from a newspaper as a reaction to what it sees as negative publicity about itself. The freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy and one of the most important roles of the NUJ is to defend that principle. Attempting to suppress healthy public debate is no business of a local authority and I hope Carmarthenshire County Council will recognise its mistake and give a firm undertaking not to act in this way again.”
..and in The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2012/jul/27/local-newspapers-advertising
...and Hold The Front Page; http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2012/news/council-pulls-advert-after-paper-publishes-negative-story/
....and just in case anyone was wondering that this was a one off, it happens quite frequently, here's one article from 2009; http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/12/21/am-attacks-council-decision-to-stop-advertising-in-local-paper-91466-25435275/