Photographers fear for their freedom to take pictures in public - Article of Public Life Blog


Robert Engelhardt, Sunday 18 May 2008

Photographers fear for their freedom to take pictures in public

Photographers fear for their freedom to take pictures in public
Metropolitan Police campaign
The Western world finds itself in a constantly alerting sensitisation towards terrorism. Since September 11th 2001 the governments of the threatened countries endeavour to protect themselves from the acute threat of radical Islamist by means of legislation and preventive alertness of this topic. It is certainly debatable, whether those means of alertness and sensitisation do not rather run the risk of turning into panic mongering, creating a situation of general suspicion.

At the moment it seems extensively to take this direction. The London Metropolitan Police launched a poster campaign, which points out that, in order to plan their actions, terrorists take pictures and notes on security. Where this points to, quickly becomes clear, and thus straightaway a storm of indignation broke out amongst amateur, professional and famous street photographers. Without further ado, this poster campaign seems to cast general suspicion on photographing in public, and with it, on the photographer, who - for better or for worse - might just as well be a scout for terrorist attacks. Meanwhile in London clashes occur between photographers and police, who prohibit taking pictures in certain places with reference to explicit laws, and demand that photos which were made, to be erased under supervision. This procedure however is practised to a much greater extend. Many photographers regard this as a curtailment of their freedom to take pictures in public, and thus an online petition against this procedure was initiated.

For more articles and information:
Online petitions
Times Online
Current Video - You can't picture this
Amateur photographer
Wired blog