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Council trying to censor members from having their own opinion when using social media

0 votes
In a nut shell the local council does not have a formal presence on social media yet but a number of councillors run community type pages which place council agendas and other items on them.

The council has on many occassion stated that they don't like the fact that a few of these pages are being run and the public may get confused as to whether it is official or not and have in the past reported one councillor for posting what I would say was highly critical comments about the work of the council and highlighting decisions that were being made.

The council now want to venture back into social media themselves and at a recent meeting it was implied that they would be looking to introduce a social media policy that would stop councillors posting on social media unless they followed what had been agreed at council

For example if the council voted 10/2 to put a new bus shelter in a location and posted about it on social media the two councillors who had voted against it would not be able to post anything in reply stating they were against it etc.

Just wondered if this was allowed as surely a councillor is allowed to have their own opinions, obviously if they lose the vote they have to accept it but don't have to be happy about it
asked by (270 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
Councillors cannot as though they are the council, e.g. "We will build a new park" appears to speak for the council, but "I have proposed a new park" is fine.

However we dress it up, we are politicians, and are entitled to opinion, and if councillors disagree with the bus shelter then they should say so (it will also help people know who to vote for or not in the future).

Councillors should, however, hold themselves to a high standard of public debate, not only for the council's benefit, but also their own standing.

Social Media guidelines should ensure the councillor issue only factual information, or (voted upon) opinions of the council, e.g. "the parish council object to the new road" needs to have been voted upon and not just be the chairman's opinion.
answered by (6.7k points)
0 votes
Introducing a social media policy is a good idea as it could protect the council in the future in the event of any litigation against something a rogue Councillor posted and Councillors should be aware that sometimes democracy doesn't go their way and despite their objections to a project, the majority vote gets it.

That said, I wish you luck with trying to control councillors on social media as it is basically impossible.  If they want to post, then they will and hang the consequences....  They have signed up to a code of conduct that requires them to moderate their behaviour but with no sanctions or penalties, if they were so minded, they would post regardless.
answered by (11.5k points)
Our local Parish Council state that their members should make it clear they are not representing the Council with any Social Media comments they make, which works sometimes but we have one Councilor who is Admin for his own local F.B. page and actively promotes local companies and is quite out spoken regarding local issues sometimes passing quite sarcastic comments.The Councilor who set up the PC. Website self appointed himself as a Controller and informed the Public he was the only one who could take their complaints/issues apart from that all is fine.

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