Libel Indemnity Illegal

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Jacqueline Thompson has reported on the auditors damning report into two issues at Carmarthenshire County Council. Vindication indeed! Everyone who wishes to scrutinise, those who act in our name, owe Jacqui an enormous debt of gratitude for asserting her (and … Continue reading

#daftarrest – Blogger’s legal fight shines light on council transparency

This, from C4, gives a pretty fair summing up of the issues involved in the #daftarrest libel trial which concluded last week:

Blogger’s legal fight shines light on council transparency

She was arrested for filming a council meeting – the situation escalated and now she’s in a high court libel trial. But citizen journalist Jacqui Thompson says she will still fight for transparency.

It’s a David and Goliath case which lays bare the challenges – and, some would say, the importance – of citizen journalism.

LLandwrda resident Jacqui Thompson is a blogger who writes about her local authority, Carmarthenshire County Council. She says she just wants to raise awareness of what’s happening in local government – but she has been locked in a legal struggle with the council authorities over her work for much of the last 18 months.

Back in 2011, Mrs Thompson was ejected from a council meeting and arrested when she refused to stop filming for a report on her blog. She says there is nothing in the council rules which indicates that she cannot film – but the council disagreed. Read on…….

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More illegal action against Carmarthenshire blogger!

“Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Head of Law and Head of Resources now have delegated powers to commence and fund (with taxpayers money) libel proceedings against the public and the press on behalf of themselves and other officers. The council as a governing body, has now enabled itself to bring and fund illegal libel actions under the cloak of a private claimant. This is the only council in the UK to have granted themselves these powers. This is unlawful, open to abuse, a threat to free speech and a grave misuse of taxpayers money.” Pinched from Carmarthenshire Planning Problems and more.

This approach from a public body is quite outrageous, illegal and just plain wrong in a democracy. Free speech under attack indeed!

Bloggers who receive this kind of treatment are advised to refer to Arkell vs Pressdram, in their response.

Pickles on bloggers from ConservativeHome

“New technology – particularly social media – means new opportunities to scrutinise councils; while the growing interest in citizen journalism and blogging means more people wanting to hold their council to account. It’s important that we keep pace with these new developments. So it’s disappointing that some council officers seem stuck in the analogue age: with some banning videoing, tweeting or live blogging.”

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. From ConservativeHome.

Open council meetings to bloggers, urges Eric Pickles

Jacqui Thompson the Carmarthenshire Blogger – story spreads rapidly!

The New Statesman have picked up on this story of excessive and over use of powers by Carmarthenshire Council and Dyfed Powys Police, arresting Jacqui Thompson the Carmarthenshire Blogger for filming a public meeting on her mobile phone!

Arrested for filming a public council meeting

Posted by David Allen Green – 13 June 2011 17:42

Have Carmarthenshire Council and Dyfed Powys Police acted illiberally?

The blogger Jacqui Thompson is led away by police on 8 June. Photo: Carmarthen Journal/Alexander Smith.

The blogger and campaigner, Jacqui Thompson was last week arrested, handcuffed, marched to a police car, and then detained at a police station for two hours. All she had done was to film a public meeting of Carmarthenshire Council on her camera read on…..

Heather Brooke, the campaigner who used the Freedom of Information Act to expose the MP’s expenses scandal, has picked this up!

Heather Brooke

@newsbrooke Heather Brooke
To all my new #pdf11 friends who think UK is so open. Public arrested for filming public mtgs: http://bit.ly/mn22iD
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If Carmarthenshire County Council wanted to keep their scandals quiet, they seem to be achieving the exact opposite!

View the film here.

Previously on Rotherham Politics: Another blogger under attack! – Carmarthenshire Planning Problems and more