A BLOGGER who prompted a council to evict more than 100 people from a meeting when he refused to stop filming it, has welcomed a policy change.
From July 2, Middlesbrough Council is planning to record video and audio of its key meetings and will allow members of the public, as well as the media, to tape footage - subject to a new code of conduct.
The council said it was committed to being open and transparent particularly in relation to the way it conducts business at such meetings which are open to the public.
At its Annual General Meeting last month, everyone was told to leave the town hall by new chairman Councillor Bob Kerr after a furore broke out in the historic chamber.
After repeatedly asking John King, who runs the Better Middlesbrough website, to stop filming from the public seating area, he suspended the meeting before the arrival of three police officers.
Mr King said: "First of all, I have to say thank you to Middlesbrough Borough Council for seeing sense over the issue. I don't believe that they would have been so amenable, had the forthcoming new regulations from the government been on the horizon.
“Councillor Kerr says that Middlesbrough Council constitution is in line with other councils across the country but truth is that many other local councils have allowed filming for a long time too.”
Cllr Kerr said: “Middlesbrough Council’s constitution has, in common with the constitutions of local authorities up and down the country, prohibited the filming of proceedings in the past.
“However we do accept that the rise of social media is allowing for ever greater scrutiny of public bodies, and we will play our part by ensuring the best possible footage from important meetings is made available.”