Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thanet Council's censorship row still with us

Tedious as it is, the question of who's right and who's wrong continues to simmer. For anyone, as an observer of this debate, there is one annoyingly worrisome point, at the heart is the principle of free and unfettered speech and no one, has as yet fully explained themselves.

David Green has made the suggestion, that he is being censored, so perhaps he could place all his evidence, particularly the letters to which he refers in to the full public domain.

The Council's role, needs a fuller explanation precisely what so saddened, Mr Moore the Council's monitoring officer, that he felt inclined to write to members or why there was concern over the style of tone and accuracy of comments made in a public arena.

This may all seem like hot-air, and the chances are it is, on the one hand you might well have a councillor who is miffed, when reminded frequently about conduct, on the other hand you might well have a conscientious official being helpful. On a more serious note, there may be a restriction of free speech or bit of politicking.

Thanet council, possibly need to adjust to a new world, of openness and public accountability. I always find as sinister, the fact that when I ring the council my conversation maybe recorded, also that they have your phone number flashed up on their screen. This again I put down to caution, but in maybe indicative of the local-authority mentality.

Today I sent an e-mail to one of the Council's senior officers, for which I then received a reply and at the bottom of it was the following statement "This email (and any attachment(s)) is private and intended solely for the recipient. Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient please destroy all copies and inform the sender by return email." Now I had and still have, no intention of publishing an e-mail even though it comes from a public servant (someone that you and I fund through taxes), without first asking for their consent, if only as a matter of courtesy, however if it is in the public interest I would publish anyway, and risk the the arrival of the midnight community warden, who might well beat me over the head with perhaps a rolled up Thanet is beautiful poster.

Finally I think that he is quite astounding, that councillor Ezekiel has yet to pass any comment on this matter, for surely as leader of the council he is the most senior democratically elected politician






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