Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Filming Debate continues...and that #daftarrest parking ticket again

I am very pleased that many Council's across Wales are reviewing their policies with regards to filming meetings, there are also good arguments emerging to support my call for members of the public and journalists to be able to film too. Ceredigion, Brecon Beacons and even Carmarthenshire are the latest to consider the matter and, as the Western Mail reports, 14 Assembly Members have now signed the shadow Minister for Local Government's Statement of Opinion (links in previous post), I hope this has some influence over the Minister, Carl Sargeant, who has given a  fairly positive but rather feeble response, this can be read over on the Photon blog as well as a warning from Carmarthenshire blogger Y Cneifwr that moves toward transparency need to be across the board rather than by piecemeal concessions. I am very grateful to all who have supported the issues I have raised but I do not claim to represent a consensus of opinion and am pleased there has been so much debate, Personally, I fail to see any logical argument against.
I must just mention Carmarthenshire who have managed, with careful spin, (otherwise known as twisting the truth to your advantage) to issue press releases about their 'new idea' for transparency without actually mentioning the events of the 8th June. Classic.

I would like to quote from a couple of recent blogposts on the issue of filming. This from Lib Dem Mark Jones, a Ceredigion Councillor;

"We've never had in my memory, such an embarrassing situation in Ceredigion as was experienced recently in Carmarthen. It does not do anything to enhance the reputation of local government and those within it to see what happened, occur"

and this from another Ceredigion Councillor, Plaid Cymru's Alun Williams;

"Talking to senior Ceredigion officers, it’s clear they would not have reacted in the draconian way that Carmarthenshire Council did in the first place. But it’s interesting how that over-reaction now looks likely to lead to positive change across Wales, with many other Councils and public bodies due to debate the issue in the next few weeks".

 And this from Conservative William Graham AM, speaking in the Senedd last week;

"The Welsh Government must do more to encouraging openness in Park Authority and Local Authority meetings, such as through internet broadcasting and embracing social media. Few people wish to see a similar scenario to those embarrassing scenes when police removed a blogger filming a Carmarthenshire Council Meeting last month."
I have to say though that, as Mr Graham states, this shouldn't be a party political issue, it has nothing to do with political colours nor, essentially is it a 'devolved issue'. Perhaps it is time for me to call on @EricPickles to join in the Welsh debate, as well as give me his views on Carmarthenshire County Council's actions? I have called on Mr Pickles' views before about the libel amendments to the County Consitution.

Interesting article from today's Wales on Sunday investigating the issues around filming council meetings and #daftarrest,  Behind the Headlines; Why are Local Authorities refusing to embrace the 21st Century?

Incidentally, I have mentioned that I had challenged the parking Penalty Notice so kindly presented to me by Carmarthenshire Council after I was wrongfully detained, at their instructions at Llanelli Police Station (for the avoidance of doubt, I had bought a three hour parking ticket)
It comes as no surprise to me that my challenge has been rejected however, I shall certainly not be dropping the matter.

More updates on the aftermath of the events of 8th June very soon.


Mr Mustard said...

Check the lenght of the markings on the road where you parked as they often don't conform to the Regulations and hence the ticket would be invalid. And the wording on the sign etc etc

Dyfrig said...

Just a little tip on parking in Carmarthen - there is an all-day car park at the bottom of Parade Avenue off Spilman Street. I haven't parked there for a little while, but I think it's about £2 for the day. And it's very handy for visiting County Hall.

Mr Mustard's advice sounds very promising in the meantime.

caebrwyn said...

@Mr Mustard thanks for tip but I was in the Council run St Peter's car park, so not on the road.
@Dyfrig I shall remember that for next time ;)

I am challenging it on a matter of principle.

Photon said...

It cannot be proper for someone who set out with no knowledge of future arrest to be penalised for a parking overstay when that person was being detained.

I suggest that this is so ridiculous and petty that a new media storm ought to erupt if Carmarthenshire do not accept that this is not in the public interest - nor that of their already-batterd public image - to pursue.

Photon said...

As an afterthought, why not emulate the Russian 'Blue Bucket Society', and everyone turn up with a blue bucket upon their heads?

I suppose that, because 'they' 'own' the council building, they can come up with an imaginary rule against the wearing of blue buckets, too.