In this week’s lecture I will encompass reporting local council meetings and also reporting elections.
Reporting local council meetings:
The freedom of press has lately been boosted by a new governmental body. Eric Pickles signed an order in August 2014 allowing press and the public to report and film all public meetings of local government bodies. This new right to report updates a law passed by Margaret Thatcher as a backbench MP
It is important to have transparency and openness behind everything that is done by councils and other local government bodies. New right with regard to this has now been brought together in Openness of Local Government Bodies 2014, which enables members of the public to know how decisions are made. Its gives rights to member of the press and public to:
- use modern technology and communication methods such as filming, audio-recording, blogging and tweeting to report the proceedings of the meetings of their councils and other local government bodies
- See information relating to significant decisions made outside meetings by officers acting under a general or specific delegated power.
The government has published a plain English guide of practical information on how the public can exercise their new rights, and what they should expect from their local government bodies.
It is a criminal offence to report and make a statement of fact on the personal character or conduct of an elections candidate with the purpose to effect the voting. There is a legal ban on publishing exit polls on voting day. However, you are not prevented from publishing the result of opinion polls arising from surveys before the voting poles open on the voting day. Reporters can neither express personal support for any candidate or party.
Tom Crook on cover elections:
“The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them” ― Alfred Hitchcock
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