We're not terrorists! say photographers

22 January 2010

A funny looking man takes photo of tiny human

Ever taken a photograph of something and got the long arm of the law getting involved? If you were taking pictures of a top secret government bunker, then you've little cause to complain... but if you were snapping something innocent, then the police should not be getting involved, right?

Well, hundreds of amateur and professional photographers are expected to gather in Trafalgar Square tomorrow to defend their right to take pictures in public places.

Starting at noon, this flash mob (geddit? Camera flash? Oh piss off, you're impossible you lot) will get together en masse after the gathering was organised by 'I'm a Photographer, Not a Terrorist', a group set up by professional photographers last year.

The event comes on the back of a series of 'high-profile detentions' under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. Amongst these detentions was architectural photographer Grant Smith who sparked a security alert in London while taking a pictures of a church. Around the same time, BBC photographer Jeff Overs told the Andrew Marr Show that he was stopped and questioned by the police after he took a picture of St Paul's Cathedral.

That's nothing compared to Roy Jhuboo who was out taking some pictures and suddenly found himself surrounded by policemen who had all arrived in two police vans. The police told Roy that he could have been on a 'reconnaissance mission' to launch a 'rocket' on nearby Canary Wharf.

If it wasn't true, it would almost be comical.

Section 44 law allows police officers to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion, despite the fact that the European Court of Human Rights recently ruled that police use of this Stop and Search is unlawful. Naturally, the Home Office plans to appeal the decision. Idiots.

Ahead of tomorrow's event, its organisers released a statement which reads: 'Our society's visual history is under threat of extinction by anti-terrorism legislation. Section 44 of the Terrorism Act has, in effect, ended the confidence of the citizen to engage in the act of photography in a public place as photographers, artists and illustrators - amateur and professional - are harassed by police invoking terrorism legislation to stop and search them.

'The act of documenting our street scenes and public life, our built environment, whether iconic or not, is now considered to be an act of hostile reconnaissance and could result in the detention of the image maker.'

So yeah, if you're in London tomorrow, get to Trafalgar Square around ten past noon and you might be able to see some photographers getting clobbered with rubber batons.


TOPICS:   Privacy


  • Alex
    To be fair, the Roy Jhuboo is almost 5 years old but I guess it shows its nothing new...
  • Fella-Tio
    arrested by the police and only 5 years old eh Alex????? Hang the bastard!
  • Bob
    Do terrorists really go about taking photos? I doubt it. Ever been a case of a terrorist being arrested and charged for snapping away?
  • Ashley
    Good thing they caught this 'Roy'. Lord knows what devastation his Canary Wharf rocket would've caused
  • Rampant R.
    If I were a terrorist I ceratainy wouldn't be using an SLR and tripod, I'd be a bit more discrete. But hey, there is no requirement for intelligence to become a police officer (in fact if you had any intelligence you wouldn't join the police) so looks like we photographers are buggered then - hopefully that won't be the punishment for taking a photo of the Houses of Parliament.
  • Bryan
    Hi i'm Bryan and I am terrorist, As a terrorist I use a small cheap digital camper, am not 5 and don't not have a beard. That is all.
  • Bill B.
    Think the main qualification for joinining the police force is to be as thick as pigshit so dont know about above
  • Paul
    If you were intent on engaging in terrorist activities and required photographic reconnaissance to aid your nefarious plans would you really wander around said target snapping away under the gaze of CCTV cameras? Would you risk the long arm of the law ruining your evil plot before it's been hatched? Of course not, you'd use Google images, you'd search Flickr, hell, you could even just buy some old fashioned postcards.
  • Lumoruk
    Not illegal to take photos of secret bunkers or MoD property if you are on a public property/access at the time.
  • Darren
    I was recently at the WAR musuem in lowry, I do event and sports photography so thought I'll take some serious gear with me and do some photos of the huge Harrier hanging from the ceiling, wthin about 10 shots using Flash 3 gaurds came over telling me to stop taking pictures of the aircraft....... and the REASON... the FLASH will Damage the AIRCRAFT... and I had to be careful as it was hanging from a ceiling.... this was there genuine answer... Pathetic excuse. Lets hope no Terrorists or Enemy troops in Afghan get hold of some Flash guns... or our RAF boys are doomed... Didnt manage to try it on a Tank though...

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