New rules allow council chamber tweets and filming
PUBLISHED: 13:30 15 August 2014
WESTON residents, journalists and bloggers can now tweet and film all public meetings in the town and North Somerset.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles has signed off new rules to allow a new wave of reporting from the meetings and covers the whole of England.
The changes come after Mr Pickles issued a warning that freedom of speech and independent journalism were under attack in local government, prompting him to ask councils to open up their planning committees and other meetings.
This means the door will be opened to camera crews and the press and public will be allowed the same right to blog, report and tweet from council chambers.
When the new guidance was reported by the Mercury last year executive members and district councillors said they had no problem with fair and full coverage, as well as opening up the democratic process to the public.
Now the rules are in place we asked our readers via Facebook what they thought of the changes and asked if they will welcome the change.
Jake Herne said: “Yes, to get the truth out there at last, such as why they block every attempt to get this town on the map, like the Tropicana. If they do not want a pool what about a roof and ice rink, a simple, practical all-weather feature no town has.”
Dave Edwards, who also said he welcomes the new rules, added: “A lot of things seem to be kept close to the chest. An awful lot of people in Weston are very suspicious of what really goes on in the council.”
What do you think? Share your views by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or put pen to paper and send your thoughts to Opinion, Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercury, 32 Waterloo Street, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1LW.