madaxeman

October 10, 2012

#DaftResponseToDaftArrest

Filed under: Uncategorized — madaxeman @ 5:30 pm

Caebrwyn and Y Cneifiwr, two well respected Welsh bloggers, are reporting that Carmarthenshire County Council have decided to produce a filmed record of some meetings. Readers will remember Caebrwyn as the blogger involved in the #DaftArrest affair, who faced arrest when she refused to stop filming at a public meeting of the same council. Various comments made following #DaftArrest on my blog are now subject to a court case before the High Court, so you’ll understand if I steer this post away from discussing Caebrwyn’s own issues with the council…

In short, it seems that the council have decided to film full meetings of the council, and to post these films, once edited, on the internet a couple of weeks after the meeting takes place. In arriving at this decision, the council have completely missed the point.

The reason we have people wanting to film council meetings in the first place is that various members of the public attested that the minutes produced in these meetings do not always properly reflect the content of the actual meetings… Providing a plain, unedited video record of the meetings would have removed all doubt about who said what and when. You might think, dear reader, that this would suit the council just fine – but no, apparently we have to have these films edited. One question – WHY? What exactly happens at these public meetings that the council would prefer the public not to see?

The next issue is that as I understand it, the proposals only cover full council meetings. However, the public have a right to attend executive meetings, and meetings of scrutiny panels etc – which is of course where controversial matters seem to end up being discussed. Again, the importance of a simple, undeniable record of what has been said cannot be overstated.

Denying the public access to the films produced for a couple of weeks will mean that interested parties do not have the time that might be reasonably required to prepare questions / submit queries pertaining to matters discussed. Carmarthenshire County Council are well known for insisting on the notice for motions etc, so it seems unlikely that anyone who has trouble preparing a submission in light of such delays would be looked on favourably…

In conclusion then, as someone who supported the call to film these meetings, I’m afraid this simply does not satisfy me. Indeed, it only underscores the importance of members of the public being able to film proceedings for themselves… If I were a voter within the county, I would be taking a keen interest in everything the authority thought it better I not know…

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2 Comments »

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