FILMING, RECORDING, REPORTING AND PHOTOGRAPHY AT COUNCIL MEETINGS – PROTOCOL
The Council supports the principle of transparency and encourages the filming, recording, reporting and photographing of meetings open to the public. In order to balance the wishes of those who want to record the meeting and those attending the following principles will apply: a) Any individual wishing to request to film, record, report or take photographs at a meeting is asked to contact the Town Clerk at least 3 working days in advance of the meeting at which the proposed filming will take place to enable the Council to provide reasonable facilities to facilitate the request. If no prior notice is given, the Council cannot commit to there being reasonable facilities available at the meeting. b) Any filming/ recording/reporting/ photography must take place from positions in the meeting room agreed by the Chairman to ensure the view of members, officers, public and media representatives is not obstructed. Those intending to bring large equipment, or wishing to discuss any special requirements, are advised to contact the Town Clerk in advance of the meeting to seek advice and guidance. c) There shall be no use of flash photography or additional lighting at any time. d) If the Chairman feels the filming/ recording/ photography is disrupting the meeting in any way, the operator of the equipment will be required to stop. Anyone undertaking filming/ recording/ photography must comply with any requests made by the Chairman of the meeting. e) The person recording proceedings must agree to ensure the film/ record/ photographs will not be edited in a way that could lead to misinterpretation of the proceedings. This includes refraining from editing the views being expressed in a way that may ridicule or show a lack of respect towards those being filmed/ recorded/ photographed. f) The responsibility for how any film or recording or photography is used rests with the person doing it, not the Council. Those filming proceedings should make themselves aware of their responsibilities under current legislation, particularly in the area of publication and seeking consent. g) All the provisions within this protocol also refer to the use of mobile phones in meetings and any other equipment that could be used for the purposes of filming, recording or taking photographs, including blogging, tweeting, Facebook and YouTube. h) Councillors are permitted to tweet and blog within public meetings, provided it is not disruptive and does not detract from the proper conduct of the meeting. Councillors are expected to comply with the Council’s Code of Conduct. The Chairman of the meeting shall request a councillor to cease tweeting or blogging if in his/her opinion, it is disrupting the meeting. The Councillor shall adhere to such a request, and the provisions as set out within Standing Orders as to the conduct of Members at meetings shall apply. i) No oral commentary shall be allowed during a meeting. j) All the provisions within this protocol relate to business conducted in the public part of the meeting and agenda. No filming, recording, reporting or photography shall take place once a meeting is in exempt/confidential/private session, and upon passing the relevant exemption clauses to move into such session at a meeting, any equipment that has been used shall be immediately turned off and removed from the meeting room.
The Town Clerk will ensure signs are put in place before the meeting starts to remind attendees that filming/ recording/ photography may take place. Meeting agendas will also carry this message, and this will also be added to the Council’s Agenda Meetings web page. During the meeting
If prior notice has been received, The Chairman shall announce at the commencement of the meeting that filming, recording or the taking of photographs shall be taking place. Anyone seated in the public area or anyone attending the meeting to speak will have the opportunity to express his or her wish not to be filmed/ recorded/ photographed and to be guided to seating areas away from the area being filmed/ recorded/ photographed. If a member of the public is attending to speak at the meeting and prefers not to be filmed/ recorded/ photographed their wish will take precedence.
At all times the wishes of Members, Officers, and members of the public who choose not to be involved will take precedence.
If the Chairman feels the filming/ recording/ photography is disrupting the meeting in any way or any pre-meeting agreement has been breached, the operator of the equipment will be required to stop.
If someone refuses to stop recording when requested to do so, the Chairman will ask the person to leave the meeting. If the person recording refuses to leave, then the Chairman may adjourn the meeting or make other appropriate arrangements for the meeting to continue without disruption. These will be in line with disorderly conduct procedures set out in standing orders.
Anyone asked to leave a meeting because they have refused to comply with the Chairman’s requests may be refused permission to film/ record/ photograph at future Council meetings.
The Chairman of the meeting has a right to withdraw consent to film/ record/ photograph at any time during the meeting.
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