More open government

Published 9:10 am Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Franklin City Council should be commended for its decision to broadcast meetings to the public over the city’s public access channel.

Cameras have been installed in the council’s chambers at City Hall, and meetings should appear on televisions hooked up to Charter Communications cable soon.

Broadcasting the meetings is a visionary step forward by the City Council. It will help continue to foster open and transparent government. It will also enfranchise citizens who are physically unable to attend the meetings and those who are unable to attend because of scheduling conflicts. The constraints on these citizens can and will be remedied with today’s technology.

Everyone has the right to know the actions being taken by their government. The $6,000 or less that the City Council will ultimately spend on broadcasting its meetings will help ensure that right is provided for all of its citizens, not just the ones who can attend the meetings. It is a small price to pay for enfranchising people.

Another group who will ultimately benefit from the broadcasts will be the younger citizens in this city. Meetings could possibly be rebroadcast, perhaps even during school hours. We can’t think of a better way to give a class a civics lesson.

And if Franklin’s meetings were to be broadcast live, the city would be a step ahead of neighboring Isle of Wight County. There, meetings are recorded but are not shown live — they are broadcast several days later.

We applaud this move and hope that eventually the city’s school board and planning commission meetings are broadcast as well.