Boost for Local Democracy and a Free Press

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles has signed an order allowing press and public to film and digitally report from all public meetings of local government bodies. He says local democracy needs local journalists and bloggers to report and scrutinise the work of their council.

The new law covers broadcasters, national press, local press, local journalists, and the wider public, and apply to the public meetings of all councils and other local government bodies in England. It gives the press and public the right to film the meetings and to report on them using social media, including blogging and tweeting. It also gives the public the right to access information about the more important decisions taken by officers on behalf of a body. 

Eric Pickles: "These new rights are a significant step in creating a strong, 21st century local democracy where those elected to serve their communities are truly accountable to their electorate and their decisions affecting the day to day life of local people are open and transparent for all to see and understand."

Right to report: 10 things to know

1. Margaret Thatcher first gave newspapers the right to report.

2. The right to report has been modernised for real-time digital media.

3. The right to report is now extended to citizens as well as journalists.

4. By default, all local council and parish meetings are open to the public.

5. You can use Twitter, Facebook, blog, YouTube or other app to report.

6. Councillors tweet too: follow them and join the conversation.

7. You can be among the firs to find out about big local decisions.

8. You have the right to see the council meeting agendas and papers.

9. You can inspect your authority's spending and salaries of senior staff.

10. Find out more in our plain English guide:…