Guidelines for Web Broadcasting in Churches

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Guidelines for Parishes Broadcasting on the Internet

Web Broadcasting:

Cameras should be installed with due care and respect church buildings. They should not be permanent fixtures; they should be easily removable without any impact on the building.

Cameras should only be switched on for the duration of  Mass or other Liturgy and switched off at the end.  There should be no live streaming of Churches when there is no Mass or Liturgy taking place.

There are a number of Data Protection issues that must be met in relation to broadcasting on the internet. 

  • Recording people via a web camera and the subsequent displaying of such images over the internet is regarded as the processing of personal data and one of the key provisions regarding the processing of such data is that it must be done with the consent or knowledge of the individuals concerned.


  • Camera shots (images) of the congregation should be wide shots – minimising the possibility of easily identifying individuals with close up images.


  • Signs should be placed at a range of entrances to the church and in other prominent locations informing people that web cameras are in operation.


  • Parish workers and members of the clergy should sign forms consenting to their image being used for web broadcasting the course of their regular duties. Copies of consent forms should be kept on parish records.


  • With regard to altar servers and others taking part in Liturgies (eg choirs, musicians, Ministers of the Word and of Holy Communion) it is advised that consent is also obtained. In the case of children, consent from given by parents/guardians is required. 

Parishes should strive to get the best possible quote for installation and streaming costs from your webcam service provider. This should be reviewed by your parish on a regular basis. Competition between suppliers has seen a significant decrease in costs recently.

Service providers should also be able to give regular, accurate information regarding the number of people who actually log on to view Liturgies from your parish in order for you to assess the value of web broadcasting. If small numbers are using the webcam service it might not represent good value for money.

If connecting to the parish broadband connection, ensure that your broadband package has unlimited usage for uploading, or you risk incurring significant costs from your provider.

During any broadcast it should be possible to stop transmission, if necessary, by quickly accessing the control panel of the system. If this cannot be done by the priest from near the altar, someone should be delegated to break transmission if needed.


It is possible that cameras can have a dual function – acting as security or CCTV systems as well as providing internet webcast.


  • If CCTV cameras are in place it is important to have separate signs informing parishioners and the public this is the case.


  • All uses of CCTV must be proportionate and for a specific purpose.  As CCTV infringes the privacy of the persons captured in the images there must be a genuine reason for installing such a system.  If installing such a system it is required that the purpose for its use is displayed in a prominent position.  This would normally be at the entrance.


  • The images captured should be retained for a maximum of 28 days, except where the image identifies an issue and is retained specifically in the context of an investigation of that issue.


  • Tapes should be stored in a secure environment with a log of access to tapes kept. Access should be restricted to authorized personnel. Similar measures should be employed when using disk storage, with automatic logs of access to the images created.


These guidelines will be reviewed and updated, particularly as this is an area where costs and technology can change frequently. Anyone seeking further advice or information should contact the Communications Office at 01 8360723 or