Photography protest

Hands over lenses, removing footage from a camera and the words you can not take photographs here have driven one man to take a stance and fight for the rights of photographers.

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The National Union of Journalists want the police to know they can no longer ignore the concerns that photographers and other media members have raised regarding the increasing harassment photographers are facing from some force members.

"There is a fundamental problem with certain sections of the police and their relationship with photographers," said the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Jeremy Dear.

This ongoing problem has forced Jeremy to take action and he will be holding a solo protest in the fight for photographers rights.

"I want to highlight the problems that are surrounding this issue and hopefully draw attention to the fact that actions need to be taken," said Jeremy.

Some members of ePHOTOzine have already raised concerns about how the latest anti-terror campaign could cause an increase in problems for photographers and the Bureau of Freelance Photography have also reported many cases of police harassment and the seizing of equipment.

"There have been a series of recent incidents from low-level harassment - such as putting hands over lenses - to the more dangerous, breaching of media freedom moves such as forcing photographs to be deleted from camera's, equipment seizure and even physical abuse like Marc Vallee suffered," said Jeremy.

Marc Valle was injured two years ago whilst covering the 'Sack Parliament' protest on the 9th October 2006, but the problem is still ongoing today.

The increase in incidents and a steady growth in the number of complaints made against community support officers and the police have given Jeremy no choice but to stage the protest outside the New Scotland Yard.

"It is clear that guidelines are not been followed," said Jeremy.

The guidelines Jeremy refers to are those which were produced for Police forces to refer to when dealing with the press. The guidelines clearly state: Members of the media do not need a permit to photograph or film in public places.

Similar words were said by Stewart Gibson who works for the Bureau of Freelance Photographers.

"The basic position is that photographers can photograph anything they wish when in a public place, and the police have no power to stop them," said Stewart.

The demonstration, to be held at 2pm this Friday, may be unlawful but Jeremy feels there is no other way to raise the point that photographers do in fact have the right to take photographs in public places.

"My demonstration maybe unlawful but that does not mean photographing the event will be," said Jeremy.

"The restrictions on the right to protest have become so severe, particularly when trying to get permission to protest outside somewhere like Scotland Yard, that instead of running the risk of not doing it, I will hold a solo protest where the authorities will be outrun by, law abiding photographers."

The law may be able to apply restrictions on how many people can hold a protest but they have no right to stop photographers taking pictures of the protest – whether it is lawful or not.

"I am hoping photographers will be there to show their support and join the press pack, Support The Right to Photograph,” said Jeremy.

For more information on the NUJ, please visit the website.





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