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[Reposted and expanded] Barnet Times: Oct 2009: "Brent Cross Cricklewood meeting recording stance undecided"

Councillor Jack Cohen
Link to Barnet Times

"THE Barnet Times reports (link here) that Cllr Jack Cohen's request last night that the special Planning Committee two evening meeting be recorded,  remained unanswered by Planning Committee chairman Cllr Maureen Braun.

"Cllr Cohen said,
"The council keeps saying it wants to be more inclusive and promote democracy, but it does not want to put meetings online so people can interact on their PCs.”
"A supporter of the Brent Cross Coalition, who has been trying to find out if recording of meetings is illegal said:
“It's a shame they do not give the oxygen of publicity to public meetings of Barnet committees.

“If the council is not prepared to record the meetings, the public should be allowed to. I have asked them on what grounds they do not permit recordings and they have cited statute law from the 1960s.

“They can't seem to find anywhere the council has actually banned recordings themselves.”
"According to the Times, Camden, Haringey and the GLA all webcast meetings."

THIS is an email exchange between Leader of the Council Mike Freer and a Barnet resident:

-----Original Message-----
To: Cllr.M.Freer@barnet.gov.uk
Sent: 28/02/08 20:51
Subject: Council meetings

"It has been brought to my attention that Barnet Council has decided to impose a ban on the recording of public meetings at the Town Hall. Could you please advise me:
1. Why was the decision taken?
2. Who made the decision?
3. When and where was this decision taken?
4. Where is the DPR or Committee Report to give authority to the decision?
5. What is the legal authority for such a ban?
6. Do you support the ban?"

----- Original Message -----
From: Cllr.M.Freer@barnet.gov.uk
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2008 8:58 PM
Subject: RE: Council meetings which regulate the filming or recording by broadcasters

"We have never allowed the recording of meetngs. We have a new policy."

-----Original Message-----
To: Cllr.M.Freer@barnet.gov.uk
Sent: 28/02/08 21:14
Subject: Re: Council meetings

"Thanks for your very prompt reply. Do I understand your comment to mean that this new policy relates only to broadcast media, and that print journalists and the public can, if they so choose, continue to record public meetings?

"If there is now an official policy, can you please ask an officer to e-mail me the report setting out the details as I would like to know the legal basis for imposing restrictions.

"Please also confirm whether you support or oppose a ban on recording, given that you hope to become a Member of Parliament where proceedings are automatically recorded for public access (with a few exceptions)."

----- Original Message -----
From: Cllr.M.Freer@barnet.gov.uk
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 7:32 AM
Subject: RE: Council meetings

"Write to the director of communicatons for the answer, I don't believe recording by the public has ever been our policy. Emer Coleman is the relevant director."

-----Original Message-----
To: Cllr.M.Freer@barnet.gov.uk
Sent: 29/02/08 08:12
Subject: Re: Council meetings

"OK, I will write to her. I don't know why you won't tell me whether you support or oppose a recording ban - even if it is a long standing policy, introduced by a previous administration.

"... In 2002, Victor promised 'an open and honest administration'. That objective surely hasn't been rescinded?"

From: Cllr.M.Freer@barnet.gov.uk
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 11:25 AM
Subject: RE: Council meetings
"I do not support members of the public recording of their own bat - we would have no control over cutting and splicing. 

Recording by the council under correct supervision is fine."

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