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Leeds press and public get right to film council meetings

Leeds Civic Hall. Picture courtesy: DJ Noddy. Leeds Civic Hall. Picture courtesy: DJ Noddy.

Members of the public can now film and record at all meetings of Leeds City Council.

At a meeting yesterday, a new protocol was adopted and went through on the nod. No objections were raised.

The change of policy follows a lengthy campaign which involved local blog The Leeds Citizen as well as the three journalism schools in the city.

Posting about the vote on the blog, The Leeds Citizen gives some practical advice on the requirements which are currently in place to help people interested in going along to meetings, adding: “It’ll be interesting to see how many people make use of this new democratic right.”

Last October, lecturers from Leeds Metropolitan, University of Leeds and Leeds Trinity University signed up to a letter urging members to “allow recording of audio and video by any interested party in all circumstances in which the press and public currently have a right to attend meetings.”

The new protocol to allow “third-party” filming and recording of all council meetings that are open to the public – from the full council sessions held monthly in the council chamber, to the more regular planning, licensing and scrutiny meetings held in the Civic Hall, to local “area committee” meetings held across the city.

The move comes ahead of legislation currently progressing through the House of Commons which will give the press and public the right to carry our such activity.

The Local Audit and Accountability Act is just one step awa from receiving the required Royal Assent.

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