Salford Civic Centre
The Manchester Evening News has been allowed to film a local council meeting for the first time today.

The newspaper's head of online content, Paul Gallagher told that the MEN had first approached Salford council about filming more than a year ago, but the council "not only said no, they suggested it was against the law".

But in a surprise development, the council contacted the MEN late yesterday afternoon to ask if it would like to film parts of this morning's budget meeting at Salford Civic Centre (pictured).

The decision follows calls from local government and communities secretary Eric Pickles last week for councils to allow filming at meetings and to admit hyperlocal bloggers and citizen journalists.

A spokesperson for Salford Council told that the decision was not prompted by Pickles's statement, but was something the council had been considering for some time. She added that the council was not changing its policy on only admitting accredited journalists to meetings.

Only sections of today's meeting were filmed, with local government and trade union reporter Jennifer Williams due to upload clips filmed using a mobile phone later today.

Gallagher said that the newspaper had wanted to livestream the meeting, but had been contacted too late yesterday by the council to arrange it.

On Monday the Times Series in Barnet reported that anti-cuts activists had called on Barnet council to allow filming Tuesday's meeting, but council leader Lynne Hillan refused, saying anyone caught filming would be asked to leave the public gallery.

She told the Times Series: "The current advice according to the constitution does not allow filming in the council chamber."

See the MEN's report and footage from the meeting at this link.

Image of Salford Civic Centre by David Dixon. Some rights reserved.

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