Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ban the bull!

It is hard to believe that one person's discomfort can cause a city ban on video or audio recordings at any city sponsored meeting (SP Oct. 9/10) save for the media. In the case of city council meetings I might understand a ban as it could be disruptive and considering the whole meeting is already played live on TV and then replayed again. The public can record any portion of that meeting they choose from the convenience of their home.

Supposedly the matter was brought forward after a video camera operator got close up to a member of the public sitting in the audience. Was that video camera operator a member of the public or the press? Generally its the press that pans the audience and/or zooms in looking for a good clip for the news broadcast on the event.

What about the scenario of a speaker that wants his or her comments audio or video taped?

If it only takes one person to complain and cause a ban on anything then Council should shut down everything happening in Saskatoon because unhappy people are abound in this city.

I'm calling bull.... on this one.


  1. Although not at the said meetings, I have some personal knowledge of what has been happening at these "PUBLIC events". It is the city administration that wants this ban not the public. They are obviously concerned that others will have the complete and accurate information and they will not be able to manipulate for their own purposes. Knowledge is Power and if you want to go to a public meeting and spout out your ideas you must be willing to have it documented. Free speech is exactly that "free" for the taking. If someone feels intimidated by being taped then their conviction comes into question.

  2. "Although not at the said meetings..."

    I love how some of the blogosphere's so-called "advocates" of the public good can't even be bothered to show up at forums discussing the public good.

  3. Anon 3:46

    Are you serious about making a comment like that. Your assumptions that one must partake in every public session on every item being talked about in order to have an opinion on a subject is asinine. Besides I have never indicated I am and "Advocate of the Public" but one individual with opinions just like everyone else in the blogosphere.

  4. If a public meeting is held and only the city records the proceedings (as a transcript), how will the public know that the record is accurate? The media won't make a big deal about this ban because it enhances their position as filters between the actual meeting and the public at large.

    The whole idea that there were people in a public gathering (with no expectation of privacy) who were intimidated by someone with a cellphone who was recording the meeting is a ruse by the city to extend their control of the messaging on any subject.

    The only people we know are complaining about the recording of the consulations are city employees. There is no evidence of attendees complaining. It looks like the city expects us to take their word on this.

    No public consultation is going to get a quarter of a million people attending. However if the city is going to hold these events, then anyone who records the proceedings and makes them available to the public is providing a valuable service which the city will not do and the media has no interest in doing.

    If fifty people went to the next consultation, took out their cellphones and recorded the proceedings, what would the city do?

    It's apparent that city councilors and administrators are all from an older, static, generation and just don't get how technology has changed how we access information. (Maybe we should get each of them an iphone.)

    The eye of Sauron (Youtube) sees all and records all. The social network isn't just a movie, it's the new norm of society. You don't have to be at an event, and you don't need the media to cover it for you, some citizen will be there, record it and upload it.

    It's time for the city to get into the 21st century. If we are visioning a city for the next fifty years, how about envisioning one with more freedom for the citizens and more accountability by our representatives, not less.

  5. "Your assumptions that one must partake in every public session on every item being talked about in order to have an opinion on a subject is asinine."

    And opinions, without a crumb of fact, are most often proven to be asinine.

    "Besides I have never indicated I am and "Advocate of the Public" but one individual with opinions just like everyone else in the blogosphere."

    Then you may wish to update your blog's header so it doesn't state that your opinions are put forth "with a view to resolve our Beautiful City's traffic problems."

  6. This is just another example of political will advocating overkill in response to a minor issue. It's like using a Buick as a flyswatter: sure it will get the job done, but usn't there a more delicate instrument that could be used.

    In this case, the moderator of the meeting could call on the videographer (to use the term broadly) to please not intimidate or bother other participants, but at the same time, reminding people that statements made in public can become part of the public record.


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