Filming and Recording at Public Meetings
Filming and Audio Recording of Council Meetings - The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014
It is not the intention of this policy to curb freedom of speech or to enforce strict rules and regulations. Rather, it provides guidance on how to deal with issues that may arise when dealing with the media.
The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations came into effect on 6 August 2014. Broadly, the regulations give the public the right to film, record audio, take photographs, and use social media and the internet at meetings to report on any meetings that are open to the public.
- Filming, photography or making an audio recording of proceedings at a meeting.
- Using any other means of enabling persons not present to see or hear proceedings at a meeting as it takes place or later.
- Reporting or providing commentary on proceedings at a meeting orally or in writing so that the report or commentary is available as the meeting takes place or later to persons not present.
The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014
- The filming, photographing or making an audio recording of proceedings of meetings of the Authority and its Committees and Sub-Committees and the Cabinet and its Committees whilst those meetings were open to the public is permitted.
- Those persons wishing to film, photograph, or make an audio recording of proceedings should give two days prior notification in writing or by telephone to Democratic Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org of their intentions to film or record prior to the commencement of the meeting. Democratic Services will inform the Chair of the relevant Committee.
- A designated press area will be provided for accredited members of the media at all public meetings of the council.
- The filming, photographing or audio recordings should only be made from the designated public seating area and with the knowledge of the Chair of the meeting. Do not use a zoom lens.
- Filming, photography or audio recordings should not be disruptive and distracting to the good conduct of the meeting and recording devices must be set in silent mode.
- If filming at a public meeting the camera should remain in one fixed position throughout the meeting. No flash or additional lighting is permitted or excessive movement allowed that might disrupt the meeting.
- Attendees will be advised at the start of the meeting that it is being filmed, photographed or audio recorded.
- A person undertaking the filming or audio recording shall respect any request from members of the public that they do not wish to be filmed.
- There shall be no oral commentary permitted in the meeting.
Rules of Procedure - Access to Information Procedure Rules
The chair of the meeting shall instruct that filming, photographing or audio recordings be stopped where:
- During those parts of the meeting when the press and public have been excluded due to the nature of the business being discussed i.e. either exempt or confidential matters
- There is a public disturbance or suspension/adjournment of the meeting
- The recording has become disruptive or distracting to the good order and conduct of the meeting
- Photographers have moved from the designated area to take close up photographs of attendees. This will not be tolerated. The photographer will be asked to cease taking photographs immediately. Failure to do so will mean the photographer is asked to leave the meeting with immediate effect.
- Continued recording is against the wishes of an individual.
The Chair of the meeting has the power to veto or curtail filming at any time if he or she believes there is a risk of distorting the democratic process of the meeting.
Use of recordings by third parties
The council will expect those filming or audio recording the proceedings to abide by (a) and (b) below:
a) Any published filming or audio recording should be accompanied by a statement of when and where the filming and audio recording was made, the context of the discussion that took place and a clear identification of the main speakers and their role or title.
b) Those undertaking the filming or recordings must not edit the recording in a way that could lead to misinterpretation or misrepresentation of the proceedings or comments made by attendees.
Any misrepresentation of a recording, photographic or audio put in the public domain may necessitate the council in taking action to have it removed. Any recording photographic or audio put in the public domain with inappropriate text may necessitate the council in taking action to have it removed.
The Chief Executive in consultation with the Chief Legal Officer will consider excluding those persons unable to comply with this policy to any or all Council meetings.
Confidential documents, exempt information, minutes, reports, papers and private correspondence should not be leaked to the media or public. If such incidents occur, an investigation must take place to establish who was responsible and appropriate action taken.
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