Home Office: bans on protest photography?

The British Journal of Photography reports:

In a letter dated 03 December, which BJP saw, Vernon Coaker, the Minister for Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing, has written to the National Union of Journalists to inform it of measures that have taken since their meeting on 05 November.

The meeting was arranged after Home Secretary Jacqui Smith shocked photographers by appearing to condone increasing police restrictions, despite confirming there is no legal framework to prevent them shooting in public.

In the letter, the Minister has confirmed that photography can be limited in public places in special circumstances. The letter reads: ‘This may be on the grounds of national security or there may be situations in which the taking of photographs may cause or lead to public order situations or inflame an already tense situation or raise security considerations. Additionally, the police may require a person to move on in order to prevent a breach of the peace or to avoid a public order situation or for the person’s own safety and welfare or for the safety and welfare of others’.

The broad definition could allow police officers to legally prevent photographers, including press photographers, to document events such as protests or any kind of incident.

Further commentary can be found at:

Indymedia
Marc Vallee’s blog

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