Friday, 19 April 2013
Journalist Christine Tongue has been expelled from Thanet District Council for filming during a meeting.
Uproar broke out in the council chamber and the meeting (which took place on Thursday April 18) was suspended as the Christine was escorted out of the building by security guards.
Christine, who writes for local investigative magazine Thanet Watch, said: I am appalled that the council threw me out.
She added: This was a very important meeting about the future of Ramsgate seafront which is of huge concern to people in the area. It is absolutely absurd that they should try to prevent me or anyone else filming.
Central government has already told local authorities to encourage people to film and record their meetings and in other parts of the country many do.
Why is Thanet council so determined to live in the Dark Ages? What have they got to hide?
Dont they want the public to know how they behave when debating issues critical to their future?
Independent councillor Ian Driver was also thrown out of the meeting for taking pictures. He said: I think anybody should be allowed to film or record council meetings without asking permission. Democracy means we should be accountable to the public.
Thanet Watch editor Norman Thomas said: The magazine is not prepared to give up on this. The people of Thanet have the right to know what their elected representatives are up to. Thanet council must change its policy on filming or it will only end up damaging its already tarnished image.
Thanet Watch is a non-for-profit monthly magazine which has been called the Private Eye of Thanet. It regularly carries articles about cases of corruption in the area, as well as full entertainments listings and items written by local people.
THANET WATCH magazine is available in newsagents across Thanet. For more information ring 01843 604 253 or 07989 070843.