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Town council critics must be responsible, warns Keighley mayor
12:19pm Thursday 17th July 2014 in News
Keighley Mayor Councillor Graham Mitchell, left, is joined by Deputy Mayor Cllr Javaid Akhtar, right, and Cllr Brian Morris, chairman of allotments and landscapes, as the Town Hall Square clean-up begins (7636357)
OPPONENTS of Keighley Town Council are to be allowed to film meetings following a law change.
But town mayor Graham Mitchell has called on the council’s “fiercest critics” to act responsibly when broadcasting footage.
He demanded that the townspeople – who have previously demanded the right to film meetings – do not doctor the videos they have shot.
He claimed some footage of Keighley Council meetings had been “reprocessed” in recent weeks to misrepresent what had taken place.
He said: “Some may argue that such deliberate misrepresentation by film is nothing more than harmless fun.
“But to many members and officers it is deeply offensive, vindictive, actually quite cruel, and a possible breach of their human rights.
“It is certainly an unwarranted attack on councillors, who are ordinary human beings with normal feelings and sensitivities, doing their best to serve the common good.”
Coun Mitchell made his comments at last Thursday’s meeting of Keighley Town Council, calling for respect from the council’s fiercest critics.
He outlined provisions in the Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014, which he said were due come into force on August 6 this year.
He said the regulations would allow, for the first time, the public to use modern technology and communication tools to report meetings in real-time.
Coun Mitchell said: “Her Majesty’s Government intends to ensure transparency in Local Government, something which our critics have always stated was their aim, and I have no problem with that.
“However, many local councils throughout the country have responded to the consultation with their concerns at the potential for selective editing of film and tampering with recordings.
“In extreme cases this vilifies and personally attacks specific elected members and officers.
“Such representation misrepresentation is not a true expression of transparency because it no longer represents the actuality of the meeting.”