Monday, 16 February 2009

"I am a Photographer...NOT a Terrorist"

I took my lunch break early today, to be able to attend and document a protest by british photographers. The protest was called up by the National Union of Journalists and the British Journal of Photography.

It was a protest against a new law coming into force today, it is Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act. Under this new law anyone "eliciting, publishing or communicating information" about members of the armed forces, intelligence services or police officers, which is "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism", can be arrested and imprissoned. This has caused controversy, especially with press photographers, since there have been numerous run-ins between the ploice and photographers in the past.
I know this since I also had a few run-ins with them but it was mostly with ill informed Police Community Support Officers and only once with the police for taking pictures of the Greenwich Power Station.

The protest saw around 400 people gather in front of New Scotland Yard taking pictures of the building, the ploce and each other. It was a nice protest and everyone was in good spirits, the ploice was nice and even had chats with the protesters.

You can read more about this here, here and here.

Although I decided to publish only one picture a day this year and the rest on Dropbox, I think it makes sense to make an exception for series or articles that benefit from more pictures. This is why I have uploaded 5 pictures for today. You can find more pictures here.


  1. It´s very important to work against the criminalization of photographers; in England the situation seems to be worse than in other parts of Europe... at least that´s the impression I get by reading the press and blogs - so good that you went ... and brought some nice pictures! :) I especially like the second one.

  2. As you have published a photograph of a policeman, and I have looked at it, does that mean I am an accomplice to the crime?

    Do you think we will be able to post blogs while locked up in Wormwood Scrubs?

    All those tourists outside the Houses of Parliament taking photographs. Guess they'll have to convert Wembley Stadium into a jail.

  3. Thanks for your comments!

    DLC, you are right, the situation here is getting worse and it is important to make a stand.
    I like documenting events so will try to do this more often.

    Yesbuts, I am not sure what will happen to us now. I took the picture before 12 so the law was not in effect. Maybe taking the picture was fine but looking at it is not. ;)
    The typical problems with laws passed in the UK recently, no real thought is given to make them clear. Wonder if there is a requirement to make laws as unclear as possible so they get passed since no one will understand what they are about.

    Hehe, we might be able to post the blogs but the picture opportunities would be kind of limited. :)

    These are not tourists, all terrorists. Maybe they should build a wall around London and declare it to a jail since CCTV cameras will undoubtedly film the police. ;)

  4. Thanks for the news. Interesting. The pictures are very nice. I like the second one posted here too. Hope the new law won't give much trouble to the photographers.

  5. Thanks Mike! We will have to see what the new law will bring and if it makes thing worse for photographers.

  6. I am so suprised to see this going on in the UK. They all seem so paranoid.

    All they do is creating fear among the people which is just plain silly. This has nothing to do with the free world and democracy. It seems you still have Bush prodegies in the Houses of Parliament.

    So thank you Cristi for sharing you images and opinion your view on this subject.

  7. Wouter, I do think that in the UK they are loosing the plot at the moment. They are too affraid to upset anyone, especially muslims, taht they loose sight of what is important.
    The problem is a lot of people are actually happy to lose their freedom so they can tell themselves they are safe. No one asks what being safe really means if you loose your freedom.

    On the other hand it could be soon worse to carry a camera with you than a gun and photographing police would be seen as worse than killing police officers. Politicians don't seem to have brains here.

  8. Great images and documentary Cristi. I have been following the UK situation for a while. From what I see, 911 and Princess Diana's death are driving this nonsense.

  9. Thanks James!

    No idea what is really driving this madness here but I sure hope it will stop soon.

  10. Tom, Yang Yang and I were amused by the pictures we took of the police during the meetup. My next post will be a sort of response to this of yours.

  11. I really liked your post and pictures, Nevin.