31 August 2014

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Editor hits out at council meeting Twitter ban

A regional daily editor has hit out after a reporter was banned from tweeting at a council meeting.

Alison Gow, editor of the North Wales Daily Post, has taken to Twitter to criticise a ban brought in by Wrexham County Borough Council which prevented reporter Steve Bagnall from tweeting at a meeting this morning.

The council committee meeting discussed price rises for school buses and Steve has previously been able to live tweet from meetings held by the authority from his @DPWrexNews account.

But the council has now said that tweeting is a form of broadcast and permission must be gained from the chair of each meeting beforehand.

Tweeting about the ban, Alison wrote: “Baffled and angry by @wrexhamcbc banning live tweets from today’s meeting, including @DPWrexNews.

“It’s undemocratic. When you consider some local councils *live stream* their debates, ad hoc Twitter lockdowns are crazy.”

Antonia Jones, social media editor at the Post, told HTFP: “Steve sent a simple tweet saying he was at the meeting and the council told him to put his phone away. Apparently it is under their guidelines that you just can’t tweet from there.

“There has been a lot of discussion about it on social media. People are saying ‘What have they got to hide?’” They want to know what is going on in the meetings.”

The paper is now contacting other local authorities in the area to check their policies on live tweeting.

The council told the Post: “Proceedings at meetings may not be photographed, videoed, sound recorded or transmitted in any way outside the meeting without prior permission of the chair.

“Failure to comply with this Standing Order may invoke Standing Orders 15 and 16 relating to disorderly conduct and disturbance by members of the public.”



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