Guidelines for Videotaping Meetings
Adopted by the Township Council on May 17, 2007
- Persons seeking to videotape Council meetings are reminded of comments by the U.S. District Court that “a right of access to a public meeting does not create a corresponding Federal Constitutional Right to videotape that meeting.” Adequate, and appropriate recording of the meeting, in accordance with applicable law of NJ is currently being provided by the Council, and access to that transcript and/or the minutes of that recording are available to the public.
The public’s ability to express views before the Council or to receive an accurate record of the proceedings is not reduced by these guidelines. Members of the public remain free to attend meetings, express their views, and gather information by means other than videotaping.
- Only one camera may be used at any one time, during any one meeting. The priority shall be based upon a first-come, first-served basis.
- No additional lighting or additional sound amplification, other than that which is already provided in the meeting room, shall be permitted.
- The cameras shall be placed in an inconspicuous location of the room, preferably toward the rear. The specific location shall be approved by the Mayor, or chairman of the meeting. The camera shall face toward the Council, and speakers from the public. The camera’s location shall be designated so as to comply with this requirement. As a general rule, the camera should face the Council. Once placed, the location of the camera may not be moved in any way.
- The location may vary from meeting to meeting, depending on the business of the Council at that particular meeting.
- Notice shall be given to the Council at least one-half hour before the commencement of the meeting, and an opportunity shall be given prior to the meeting to set up the equipment. However, it is the operator’s obligation to be ready and the start of the meeting will not be delayed to accommodate the videotape.
- The Council shall be provided with a copy of the tape within 48 hours of the meeting.
- The person who receives permission to conduct videotaping shall be responsible for the safe keeping of the original tape, and shall advise the Council or the Manager of the tape’s permanent location.
- It shall be made clear on the tape itself that the tape does not constitute an official recording of the meeting, and it shall also be stated that the only official recording is the official recording/transcript which is authorized with the Council’s standard procedures, and which is maintained by the Clerk of Randolph Township. No action shall be taken by the person responsible for the videotaping, which might lead the public to believe that the videotape is to be considered an official transcript of the meeting.
- Should the video coverage become disruptive to the normal conduct of the meeting, in any fashion, the mayor, or chairman of the meeting, shall have the right to require that the videotaping immediately cease.
“Disruptive” shall be defined as: Any actions that physically interrupts or interferes with a proceeding and/or causes that proceeding to be thrown into disorder.
- The camera shall not produce a distracting sound, so as to divert the attention of the proceedings. The tape may not be rewound, or played back during the Council session.
- The camera must be in place before the commencement of the Council proceedings and may not be removed until after the adjournment of the proceedings, or during a recess in the proceedings.
- Non-compliance with any of the above guidelines shall be grounds for any or all of the following: (a) the immediate cessation of the recording; (b) confiscation of the videotape to be held by the Clerk of Randolph Township until such time as any dispute concerning same can be resolved; and/or (c) forfeiture of the opportunity to videotape future Council proceedings.