The ANU Students’ Association (ANUSA) has prevented media from livestreaming its first Student Representative Council (SRC) meeting of the year. When Observer asked to livestream, General Secretary Eden Lim ruled this was not allowed, citing unspecified safety concerns.
In 2017, Observer livestreamed all General Meetings and SRCs at the request of then-General Secretary Kat Reed. The then-ANUSA Executive and SRC agreed to this, on the grounds that it made meetings more widely accessible and encouraged engagement.
2018 President Eleanor Kay, however, did not want this year’s first SRC to be livestreamed. “I’ve spoken to a few members of the SRC who have raised some concerns about livestreaming and said it makes them personally feel uncomfortable,” Kay told Observer yesterday. “Some representatives have gone so far as to say they won’t feel comfortable speaking in the meetings at all if there is livestreaming.” ANUSA would not specify the representatives or their reasons for feeling uncomfortable or unsafe, saying the representatives in question had requested confidentiality.
When Observer asked if they could take a public recording with a delayed release, Kay also refused, proposing that video be filmed by ANUSA itself, and only be made available “to members…who ask for it, for their private viewing”. “We think it is best for the video to remain as property of ANUSA,” she told Observer two hours before the start of the meeting. When raised by a student at SRC, the request for a non-live, publicly recorded video was again denied. ANUSA ultimately did not record the meeting, meaning anyone not present would have to rely on minutes.
ANU Student Eben Leifer requested that the SRC be allowed to vote on whether livestreaming be allowed. Lim described this as a “interesting suggestion” but again citing safety concerns, said the SRC would not be allowed to vote.
NUS Observer Howard Maclean asked that his report be livestreamed, even if the SRC meeting was not. Maclean explained that he “wanted the report publicised as widely as possible”, given that he “went to NUS National Conference on SSAF dollars”, which are funded by the student population. The Executive assented to this request.
The National Union of Students does not allow livestreaming at its National Conference, a decision which students, including many on SRC, have previously criticised. However, Kay said it would be “false equivalency” to compare NUS NatCon to SRC meetings.
Note: This article was updated to add that ANUSA did not record the meeting. It was also updated to add that confidentiality had been requested.