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Reporter hit by Twitter ban as council defies Pickles

A weekly newspaper reporter was barred from tweeting from a town council meeting, despite government regulations designed to allow it.

John Evely from the Rutland and Stamford Mercury was prevented from using Twitter to cover a Stamford Town Council meeting, for the second time in recent months – after initially being refused in January.

John asked the authority if he could tweet from the meeting on Tuesday night but councillors again refused, raising concerns about accuracy and comments appearing out of context.

He asked them for permission after local government secretary Eric Pickles hit out at councils for failing to implement new rules which allow journalists to tweet and film council meetings.

Tweeting about the case in Stamford, deputy editor Mike Roberts wrote: “Eric Pickles says you can tweet and film council meetings, however Stamford TC refused to allow it last night. What do you think?”

John also took to Twitter about the situation, writing: “I was meant to be tweeting from the Stamford Town Council meeting but was once again denied permission by the council.

“Concerns about 140 character snippets of information not accurately portraying a debate, and possible inaccuracies.”

Mr Pickles has also challenged the Welsh government to give journalists an automatic right to do this, as the regulations currently only apply to England.

The Daily Post in North Wales started its “Right to Tweet” campaign earlier this year after being barred from tweeting at a council meeting, leading to a number of local authorities agreeing the use of social media at meetings.


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  • June 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    The reporter is clearly some kind of genius. Can listen to the debate, text on his phone, take a shorthand note of the proceedings – and all at the same time!
    And just how many people in Stamford are itching to hear a minute by minute account via Twitter of what their councillors are saying?

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  • June 27, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Difficult to see how any ban would be enforceable.

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