THE LAW has been changed to allow the press and public to film and digitally report from all public meetings of local government bodies.
This ‘Right to Report’ offers some exciting possibilities to extend the Hedon Blog’s coverage of Hedon Town Council meetings.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles commenting on the change said:
“Half a century ago, Margaret Thatcher championed a new law to allow the press to make written reports of council meetings. We have updated her analogue law for a digital age.
“Local democracy needs local journalists and bloggers to report and scrutinise the work of their council, and increasingly, people read their news via digital media.
“There is now no excuse for any council not to allow these new rights. Parliament has changed the law, to allow a robust and healthy local democracy. This will change the way people see local government, and allow them to view close up the good work that councillors do.”
The Hedon Blog will be looking to set up new systems and channels on Twitter and Facebook to enable ‘LIVE’ reporting (or nearly live) from the public council meetings – by using these social media channels it will be possible to comment on decision-making as it takes place, including capturing the ‘colour and flavour’ of the actual debates and discussions.
Whilst the Hedon Blog tries to report on the decisions made by the council, the new systems will enable us to capture some of the comments of councillors – the indignation, the concerns and the humour – that lead to decisions being made. On bigger public issues, when residents are waiting to hear the results of the council’s deliberations, we will be able to bring these to residents via the Blog, Twitter and Facebook almost instantly.
“This is a positive move by the Government and will serve to increase and renew interest in the essential grassroots democracy exercised by our local councils.
Whilst some councillors will initially find this challenging – and it will be interesting to note any change in behaviour as a result of the increased public scrutiny – it will soon become the norm and part and parcel of being an accountable councillor.” – Ray Duffill, Editor
The Hedon Blog already reports from the council chamber with the support of the Hedon Town Council. We will now seek to work with the council on its moves to ensure the effective implementation of the new ‘Right to Report’.
See more on HU12 Online: ‘Right to Report’