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ERYC Portfolio Holder “No filming until we are forced to let you”

November 25, 2013

At a recent meeting of  WSSAAG, A community action group for the West Street area, Portfolio Holder for Council Support Services, Cllr Margaret Chadwick along with her husband and fellow Bridlington South Ward Member, Cllr Ernest ‘Chad’ Chadwick confirmed that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council will not allow filming or blogging of any meeting until forced to do so by law.

This being a public pronouncement of Council policy by the relevant Portfolio Holder, it gives us the Council’s official position. Whilst disappointing, it demonstrates that the self-styled ‘East Riding Conservatives’ want to keep operating behind closed doors for as long as they can get away with it and have little interest in serving either their residents or the party they purport to stand for.

Their stance against democracy is as sad as it is futile, the legislation has cross-party support and is all but assured to become law in a matter of months. As the legislation does not require councils to film and broadcast their own meetings, it seems likely that Mr Parnaby’s Group will not endorse any official recording.

Although Justice For Brid is campaigning for a full official record to be broadcast, the important thing is that any individual, campaign or news-group will be able to film and broadcast public Council meetings without restriction or interference from the Council.  It is unlikely that members of the public will wish to broadcast the full proceedings. So we can expect to see short, highly-edited extracts highlighting the individuals’ concerns from their own perceptive.

Councils may well consider such extracts to be out of context or even misleading.

Those councils who refuse to have a full official record have no way to refute any perceived ‘misrepresentation’.  In not filming and broadcasting themselves, they effectively hand over their public image to anyone, for any purpose.

If Cllr Parnaby wishes to relinquish control of his Council’s public relations and his councillors reputations to campaign groups such as Justice for Brid, who are we to object?

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