A Bournemouth University law student was ejected from Bournemouth Borough Council meeting on Tuesday for trying to film the proceedings.
Michael Chizlett, 21, of Kinson, began filming at the start of the meeting when the Mayor Rod Cooper entered.
The filming was brought to the Mayor’s attention shortly after, when he stated that the meeting would not continue until the filming had stopped or Chizlett was removed.
“I didn’t want to cause too much of a stir, and I do apologise for prolonging the meeting, but I did want to make a point”, Chizlett explained.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Roger West stood in objection to both Chizlett’s removal and not allowing filming, adding shortly after: “We should be filming in here. Other councils do it, why can’t we?”
“I didn’t want to cause too much of a stir, and I do apologise for prolonging the meeting, but I did want to make a point” – Michael Chizlett
Chizlett did have a sign visible to the Councillors saying that he was filming in pursuance to s100A(6)(c) of the Local Government Act 1972.
The Council explained by email that they have no legal obligation to allow filming during its meetings, however it is not illegal to film in said meetings. It is at the Council’s discretion whether or not to allow filming. Cabinet meetings however do require a record of proceedings.
Law student Chizlett believes there is a lack of ‘democratic accountability’ without the capability of recording the meetings. He has been in steady contact via email for several months with the Council Monitoring Officer & Service Director Tanya Coulter to find out why Bournemouth Council refuse to allow filming.
In his view, he has yet to find an answer.