28 August 2014

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Council delays decision on ‘right to Tweet’

Journalists from a regional daily will have to wait until May to find out if they will be allowed to use Twitter at council meetings.

The Daily Post in North Wales launched its Right to Tweet campaign after journalists were told by Wrexham County Borough Council earlier this month that they had to ask the chairman of each meeting for permission to use social media.

Councillors were due to decide on Monday on whether to allow the use of social media as a matter of course at its meetings but this has been delayed until May.

A cross-party scrutiny group will now look at all aspects of social media including Twitter, Facebook and cameras, before a decision is made.

During a full council meeting, councillors accepted that times were changing and new forms of communication had to be looked at.

Coun Arfon Jones, who proposed a change in the constitution to allow tweeting, said: “Most of you here today will be aware of the debate that has been ongoing for weeks in the press but particularly in the Daily Post with their campaign for more openness and transparency within public authorities.

“It seems that neither Ynys Môn, Gwynedd, Conwy or Denbighshire have rules prohibiting the use of social media in their meeting and are quite happy to allow the use as long as they don’t interfere with the conduct of the meeting.”

He added that politicians tweeted from the Welsh Assembly and in the Houses of Parliament.

The Daily Post’s campaign urges all public authorities and agencies to allow the use of social media at meetings and comes after a number of instances where authorities have imposed Twitter bans.

When the campaign was launched, Daily Post editor Alison Gow questioned why some councils said reporters must request to tweet at each meeting when automatic permission exists in UK courtrooms.



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