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Da iawn ti Aled. I asked Simon Thomas to raise the issue of filming etc. with Carl Sergeant. He got an extremely feeble response, referring to the Local Govt. (Wales) Measure 2011. Sergeant seemed to imply that the measure had originally included provisions for councils to allow remote attendance of meetings by councillors and streaming video of meetings, but that Plaid had opposed this. I don’t know if that is true.
As it stands, the measure is all about the roles, responsibilities and rights of councillors – there is nothing in it about accessibility by the public or the rights of voters. The preamble to the measure makes that very clear – it was never intended to be about citizens’ rights. There is a clause which allows for remote attendance of meetings by councillors, but even that is incredibly weak – it allows remote attendance, but subject to various conditions including the whether or not each council’s standing orders allow it.
In other words, Labour’s policy is a post code lottery. Perhaps not surprising since some of the most regressive councils in Wales are Labour run or have Labour participation. In Rhondda Cynon Taf, the previous Plaid administration installed technology to prepare for recording and streaming of council meetings. The Labour group now in charge changed the constitution recently to ban all tweeting, filming, recording, etc. In Carmarthenshire, Labour are in coalition with the ruling “Independents” .
Carmarthenshire did announce it was setting up something called “Carmarthen TV” a couple of years back, but this was later quietly dropped. I don’t think it was ever intended to be a straight resource to allow people to view council meetings online – more a video version of the council’s propaganda sheet (interviews with the chief exec., leader, etc. on things like the overfulfiment of the latest glorious 5 year plan).
One other thing that has struck me – whenever this subject comes up, councils raise fears that people may use the material to quote them out of context. Bollocks. If anyone wanted to quote a council leader, etc. out of context, it would be just as easy to do that by editing the printed word. Being quoted out of context is one of the hazards you have to live with if you seek public office. After all, politicians do it to each other all the time.
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