After much consideration live broadcasting of Ballarat City Council meetings will begin at the May 15 meeting.
A can of worms or democracy?
In preparation for live broadcasting:
- A 4K high resolution camera, digital decoder and mixer have been installed, tested and have delivered high quality video and audio output
- A broadcast platform hosted by a third party has been developed
- A communications plan to inform the community has been developed
- An administrative Live Broadcasting and Recording of Council Meetings Procedure has been developed to mitigate the risks identified with live broadcasting, including defamation, infringement of copyright, breach of privacy/disclosure of personal information, publishing of offensive material, offensive behaviour on basis of race, colour or national or ethnic origin, and vilification or inciting hatred. This procedure would be published on the Council’s website where the live broadcasting would be hosted.
During the live broadcast, only Councillors and some Council employees will be visible, not the public gallery.
However, there are no assurances to people in the public gallery that their image will not be broadcast if they choose to ask a question or make a representation to the Council during Public Question Time and Representations.
This will be advertised via signage placed at the Council chamber entrance, along with a statement from the Chair at the opening of each meeting and a similar one in the Council agenda.
All members of the public will also be advised they would be solely responsible for their own comments made during council meetings and which may result in legal proceedings.
The Chair or Chief Executive Officer will also have the ability at any time to terminate the live broadcasting in exceptional circumstances, which could be a risk to public health and safety, a threat of violence or aggression, unlawful conduct, significant disruption of the Council meeting or a reputational risk to Council.
Live broadcasting may also be interrupted by technical difficulties such as poor internet connection, device failure, unavailability of social media platforms or power outages.
These instances will all be advertised on the Council’s website and social media channels, so long as they are not disrupted.
All recordings will be uploaded to Council’s website within five business days and will be available for up to 12 months.
Council will be updated bi-annually with information about people accessing the broadcast or recordings.