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To be or not to be – recorded that is!

The Beagle Editor, To be or not to be – recorded that is! The two sessions before ordinary council meetings give people the opportunity to voice their views directly to councillors and senior staff members, but only the second session relating to items on that day's agenda are recorded. Whether these presentations are effective or not is sometimes debatable but they can be the only chance members of the public feel that they can say their piece in the knowledge that it has been received by councillors and is out there in the public domain for all to know. Rather than contemplating stopping the live-streaming and video recording of the second session, which give people unable to attend a chance of seeing what has happened, council should in the interests of transparency and enhanced community involvement and awareness, be also transmitting and recording the earlier session. It has been suggested by council that in these days of improved communication through social media and councillors being better equipped with mobile phones and internet access for emails, etc., it shouldn't be necessary to live-stream or video record but getting councillors to communicate with their constituents by using these facilities is another thing altogether. Even more traditional communications methods seem too hard for councillors to use - how often do we see a letter from a councillor (except maybe Pat McGinlay) in the local press or here, for instance, and doing that could be achieved without any real technical savvy! The big community concern should not only be for the possible removal of live-streaming but even more so, for the removal of video recording which does allow for later reviews of what has been said which in the past, has revealed past bad behaviour, indiscretions and actual breaches of codes of conduct. The absence of such evidence would allow a totalitarian-inclined group to get away with even more decisions and actions they would prefer to have hidden from the general public. Don't allow it, councillors! Please! Jeff de Jager Coila


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