24 October 2007

‘I’m A Councillor – Get Me Out Of Here’

A south-west newspaper is bringing democracy into the homes of readers with live webcasts of council sessions.

The Bristol Evening Post is using European Union funding to support the online project to broadcast live meetings of the city council and various committees on its website – thisisbristol.co.uk.

The initiative is intended to improve citizen involvement in local government affairs and enables people to watch democracy in action from the comfort of their living rooms.

Assistant editor Kevan Blackadder told the Guardian: “We approached the city council as we felt it would add something to our existing in-paper coverage and add a new feature to our website.”

Some 200 users tuned into the first live webcast of Bristol City Council and editor Mike Norton said he expects interest to grow in the future.

Councillor John Goulandris spoke to the Evening Post after the inaugural broadcast and said “there was a bit of playing up to the camera”, but the council labelled the overall event a “triumph”.

In addition to showing live pictures of debates, the website also features an archive of previous meetings which can be accessed according to the speakers or subject matters.

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