[Adopted 7-18-2007 by Ord. No. 797]
Members of the general public have the right to videotape portions or all of an open public meeting of the governing body, excluding closed or executive session discussions. These guidelines are intended to ensure that the right of the public to videotape and record official public meetings of the governing body does not interfere with the business of the governing body or other citizens' right of access to the proceedings.
To minimize the possibility of disrupting the public meeting of the governing body, any member of the public (a "citizen") who wishes to videotape, photograph or record portions or all of the public meeting must do so in accordance with the following guidelines:
The citizen must provide the Clerk of the municipality with no less than 30 minutes verbal notice prior to the public meeting of his intention to exercise his right to videotape or photograph the meeting.
The citizen must have completed setup of his videotape recorder and any related equipment or still photography equipment by no less than 10 minutes prior to the official start time of the public meeting. As to the location of the videotape recorder and equipment, the same may only be set up by the citizen in the rear of the meeting room, as such location will be specifically identified to the citizen by the Clerk. The area(s) shall provide a generally clear view of the proceedings by the camera.
The video recorder and any associated equipment utilized by the citizen must be battery operated, compact, quiet, and generally unobtrusive. No more than one videotape recorder or still camera shall be operated at a meeting and no added lighting may be used by any citizen. Permission to videotape or photograph the public meeting shall be granted on a first-come-first-serve basis subject to compliance with the provisions contained in these guidelines. The videotape recorder and all associated equipment may not take up more than the space designated by the Clerk. No citizen is permitted to use any videotape recorder or equipment that makes any beeping sounds or other noises. Should beeping sounds or any other noise emanate from the videotape recorder or equipment at any time during the public meeting, the citizen shall be required to cease videotaping or taking photographs immediately.
The citizen may not disrupt the public meeting with his recording equipment. The citizen may not set up or use the videotape recorder or equipment in such a way as to block or obstruct the view of other members of the public of the governing body proceedings. The videotaping, photographing and/or recording by the citizen may only be done in a manner that does not violate the disorderly conduct ordinances of this chapter and must be generally orderly and unobtrusive. The citizen may not continually exit and re-enter the meeting room, or continuously move around within the meeting room, during the public meeting. The citizen must remain with the videotape recorder and equipment at all times, except for any period of time during which the citizen is making a comment in his turn during any public comment portion of the public meeting. The citizen may not "narrate" the proceeding, or speak into any videotape recorder or microphone. The citizen may not engage in any verbal conversation, discourse or comment whatsoever, unless the citizen is making a formal comment in his turn during any public comment portion of the public meeting.
If the citizen chooses to cease videotaping or taking photographs at any time during the public meeting, he may do so; provided that the citizen may not commence removal, except for a hand-held videotape recorder or camera, or begin to disassemble any videotape recorder or associated equipment until there is a break of at least five minutes of the public meeting or until the public meeting has concluded.
In addition to photography and videotape recording of public meetings, an individual may tape record a public meeting subject to the notice requirements set forth above. The recording device shall be unobtrusive, limited to the size commonly known as hand-held, mini-cassette or similar recording devices. It shall be placed in an appropriate position that will not interfere with the conduct of the meeting or moved in any way to attract attention. The recording device shall not produce a distracting sound, either from the equipment or in its operation. The tape may not be rewound or played back while the meeting is in session. The citizen may not "narrate" the proceeding, or speak into the recorder or microphone. The citizen may not engage in any verbal conversation, discourse or comment whatsoever, unless the citizen is making a formal comment in his turn during any public comment portion of the public meeting.
To protect the attorney-client privilege, there shall be no audio pickup of conferences which occur at a public meeting or in a public facility between the Township Solicitor or special counsel and any member of the Township Committee, the Municipal Clerk or any officer or employee of the Township.
The Mayor may direct that the videotaping, photography or audio recording cease or be brought into compliance with the regulations at any time he determines that the equipment or its operator is disrupting the proceedings or is otherwise in violation of the regulations set forth herein.
The videotaped recording(s) or audio recording taken by any member of the public may not be represented as an official transcript in any manner and/or for any purpose.
The Mayor, in his capacity as Chairman at the public meeting, may relax the above guidelines during ceremonial proceedings involving the Township Committee, such as the annual reorganization, the administration of oath of office, or otherwise.
The Carneys Point Township Police Department is the enforcement agent of this chapter.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this article shall be subject to the violation provisions of § 152-11 of this chapter.