Friday, June 28, 2013

Town councils still reluctant to allow meetings to be tweeted

Government guidance says councils should allow social media reporting of meetings and even filming. But a survey of its local authorities by the Rutland & Stamford Mercury suggests that this is not always what happens in practice:
Town councils in the area are not allowing reporters and members of the public to tweet live updates from their meetings even though the Government is urging authorities to be more open to the idea. 
Lincolnshire and Rutland County Councils and South Kesteven District Council do allow tweets. 
But only one local town council – Market Deeping – says it is currently OK to use social media to reveal what is happening at its meetings.
The report quotes a Liberal Democrat councillor from Stamford as saying:
"Until it becomes law we should not consider it and I will be opposed to it."
Why this reluctance to allow tweeting? The closest the Mercury could find to a reasoned argument was this:
Uppingham town clerk Susan Awcock said allowing tweeting was "a dangerous path to take." 
She said there were concerns about people picking “bits and pieces” from the meeting to report live.
But then newspapers pick bits and pieces to report. Should we ban journalists from meetings too?


Mark Pack said...

A Liberal Democrat councillor? Oh dear.

Martin Brookes @oakhamuk said...

"a dangerous path to take."
Uppingham? Deputy Chairman of Rutland County Council Cllr Baines has strong connections to the Rutland Town and refuses to use a pc or send an e-mail as for tweeting, he saves that for the bird fair. Living in Rutland is like living in a time zone of yester- year. I was shocked when he described the internet as the sewer of modern life. I am hated for my blogging. I have never asked to tweet from a council meeting I can not see how this could be policed. Rutland County Council have banned photography at any meeting, I can only imagine those councils who object to tweeting will jam mobile signals? And does their ban stretch to blogging live which I have done?