Council proceedings should be open

Sir – Your recent reports about Witney Town Council banning the media from attending meetings and trying to gag councillors from speaking to them makes it sound more like a freemasons’ meeting.

Have these people forgotten who elected them and whose interests they are supposed to be looking after?

Open government at every level is essential for any democracy and, unless the public have access to the workings of the council, it has to be considered suspicious, particularly when no other council in Oxfordshire appears to have such draconian regulations.

I can appreciate that very occasionally secrecy is necessary for legal reasons, but it should be the exception, not the rule.

I would like to see a list of councillors who are supporting this censorship, so it can be taken into account when they are next due for re-election.

I would like to thank the Witney Gazette and also councillors Enright and Woodruff for bringing this to our attention.

Personally, I doubt that the council’s proposed ban on speaking to the media could be legally enforced.

After all, they are simply supporting the electorate’s basic right to be informed about their council’s decisions and the rationale behind it.

R Lee (Mr), Burford Road, Witney

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