Using Twitter in Council Meetings

I’ve been wondering, as I do from time to time, what is the actual law regarding the use of Twitter at a Borough, Town or Parish council meeting?

Is there a law at all, and if someone insists on tweeting or facebooking during a meeting are they actually breaking the law?

The government certainly seem to think we are quite entitled, and they have published their take on the subject here.

Even courts are allowing tweeting, as we can see here.

After a spell of Googling and head scratching I decided to ask the people who will ultimately be enforcing the decision (whatever that may be) so I have asked the following of South Yorkshire Police:

“Dear Sirs, apologies for the unusual question, but I wonder if you could help me with the following:

If a member of the public uses Twitter or another form of social media during a Council meeting (principal, town or parish) are they breaking the law?

For example if such a person is asked by the chair during one of these meetings to desist and refuses which then results in the Police being summoned will the Police take any action against said person, such as insisting they leave the meeting?

This is assuming that the person in question is causing no disturbance or disruption to anybody, just using some form of electronic device to tweet or update a Facebook page, etc.

Again sorry for the unusual nature of the question but having read articles in the press where people in other areas of the UK were evicted from meeting for using social media, I would like to clarify the situation.”

As soon as I receive a reply I’ll let you know!

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