In the House of Commons yesterday, the Leader of the House of Commons Harriet Harman agreed to look into allowing members of the public to share video clips of Parliament on their websites.
Jo called Ms Harman’s attention to the new BBC Democracy Live website, which was launched this week to allow members of the public to search for video clips of proceedings from the Houses of Parliament, as well as the European Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Jo pointed out that the Westminster Parliament is the only one which does not allow people to share those clips on their own websites, and called on the Leader of the House to make this possible. Harriet Harman agreed to look into the matter.
Jo’s campaign to end the ban on clips of Parliamentary debates being uploaded to YouTube enjoyed a small victory recently as Parliamentary rules were changed to allow MPs to upload footage, however members of the public are still not allowed to share those clips on their websites.
Commenting, Jo said:
“I am very pleased that Harriet Harman has agreed to look into this matter. When other Parliaments around the UK and in Brussels are allowing the public to share video clips of debates freely online, there is no reason why Westminster should not do the same.
“BBC Democracy Live is fantastic tool for bringing political institutions closer to the publics they serve, and I’d certainly recommend people have a look at it. I will be following up Harriet’s promise to take action on this and I hope that before long users will be able to make use of all the footage on the site by putting it on their own blogs and homepages.”
The text of Jo’s question to the Leader of the House appears below.
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): As of this week, the footage and clips of what is going on here in Parliament are easily available to search and view on the excellent BBC Democracy Live website, so that the people out there can see the business of the House. The ability to share those clips with their friends or on their own websites is available for the European Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly-in short, everywhere but Westminster. Will the Leader of the House take steps to ensure that the public have equal access to footage of the business of this House?
Ms Harman: I will look into that and liaise with the House authorities and my colleagues in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.