Tonight I received a reply from Swansea council regarding filming and photography at council meetings. It would seem that a councillor has already fallen foul of their policy of taking photographs at meetings, where he was forced to remove photos he had taken down from his Facebook page.
This isn’t something unusual with our local authorities. Neither is the standing order requiring permission form the chairperson to take photographs or film at council meetings. However, after asking, and gaining permission to take photographsother Swansea councillors objected to this claiming that it would be an invasion of their PRIVACY!!!
Below is the relevant part from the minutes of the meeting where this was discussed (31/3/11)
201. PHOTOGRAPHY AT A COUNCIL MEETING
The Leader of the Main Opposition Political Group stated that Councillor R Speht had breached Council protocol and had taken photographs at a Council meeting and had published them onto his Facebook account. He asked Councillor R Speht to remove the images and to apologise for his actions.
Councillor R Speht stated that the images had now been removed and offered a full apology to Council for his actions. He also sought permission from the Chair of Council for him to be allowed to take photographs at this Council Meeting.
The Chair of Council allowed the request.
(Note: A large number of Councillors objected to this and stated that they wished to maintain their right to privacy and that no image taken by Councillor R Speht should be published without those Councillors in the picture giving their consent.)
Surely standing, and getting elected isn’t the best idea if you want to protect your own privacy! These people claim public money in expenses and yet are quite content in blocking transparency in their meetings!