Citizen journalist Richard Taylor battled with civil servants and the Council Chairman Cllr Barbara Elizabeth Boddington (who called the civil servants her “elders”!) for half an hour before they reluctantly agreed to allow him to film a PUBLIC meeting.
Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Local Government, has recently ruled that all councils should allow filming of their public meetings and the question citizen journalists and bloggers should ask on their arrival in the chamber is not to ask permission to film but to enquire what facilities the council has for citizen journalists like Mr Taylor (e.g. WiFi, power point for charging equipment, toilet facilities etc).
As you can see from the below footage the Chairman Cllr Boddington and the Head of Democratic Services and the Monitoring Officer (the person who keeps the the council inline with their Constitution), Colin Meadowcroft, spent a fair bit of time trying to stop Richard Taylor from filming a public council meeting. In the end, after what looks like an intervention from a UKIP councillor, the Conservative Chairman Cllr Boddington relented and allowed (somewhat discourteously) Mr Taylor to film the meeting.
The fact bloggers have to fight tooth and nail for one of the basic tenets of democracy (i.e. transparent reporting) shows how secretive our local councils have become (more akin to the USSR than the UK). It’s time for councils to open up and show taxpayers how their money is being spent and how decisions are made in their name.
I hope Ipswich Borough Council will be making arrangements for their public council meetings to be filmed?