Watch the Frontline’s event on the media and anti-terrorism legislation here, at 7pm tonight:
An ‘On The Media’ discussion in association with the BBC College of Journalism
How concerned should photographers and journalists be about anti-terrorism legislation that came into force earlier this year making people taking pictures of the police potentially subject to fines or even arrest? A mass picture-taking event outside Scotland Yard organised by the National Union of Journalists earlier this year reflected widespread concerns that section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act would extend powers already being used to harass photographers.
Under the Act eliciting, publishing or communicating information on members of the armed forces, intelligence services and police officers ‘likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’ is subject to a 10 year maximum sentence.
The Home Office has insisted that the Act does not target the press but the number of photographers and camera crews who claim they have been prevented from taking pictures has increased.
On the other side of the lens there is growing evidence that Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) are not only collating information on protestors and campaigners but also photographers and journalists who report on demonstrations.
The emergence of video footage following the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in April demonstrates how significant images can be.
Claims by Val Swain and Emily Apple that they were unlawfully arrested during the Kingsnorth Climate Camp has again put the spotlight on the issue of police surveillance at demonstrations. And also raises questions about the status of citizen journalists in the eyes of the police.
How much of a challenge to the freedom of the press photographers, freelances of citizen journalists – to bear witness during protests could Section 76 become?
Panel: Peter Clarke, former head of counter terrorism for Scotland Yard
Marc Vallée is a London based photojournalist who is currently working on a long-term project to document political protest and dissent in modern Britain
Turi Munthe, CEO of Demotix, a citizen-journalism website and freelance photo agency
Angus Walker, UK editor, ITV News
Moderator: Margaret Gilmore is a freelance writer and broadcaster and senior research fellow with the leading independent think tank, RUSI, where she specialises in homeland security, covering terrorism and Olympic security
Are there people in the media currently who can take the ‘radical action’ required to drive newspapers forward, Justin Williams, assistant editor of Telegraph Media Group, asked an industry gathering last night.
Speaking at New Media Knowledge’s (NMK) ‘What happens to newspapers?’ event, Williams said the Telegraph had ‘dropped the baton’ after it launched online and ‘seeded the ground for the Guardian very quickly’.
“We’ve been playing catch up for the last two or three years. What is required is radical action. I’m not certain at the moment we have the people in the industry who have the ideas to be radical enough. I think we’re constantly behind the curve with technological change and development,” he said.
“No matter how fantastic our newsroom looks and our web-first model is, we still look at things through the prism of newspapers.”
This ‘prism of newspapers’ is driving publishers to look at e-reading and e-paper technology, which is tied to the idea of print and, if the current fortunes of the print format are considered, ‘the world has moved so far beyond’, Williams said.
Yet changes may be driven by new recruits at the Telegraph, including ‘some pretty young people’, who ‘think utterly differently about what we [the Telegraph] publish and how we interact with it’.
New staff, he added, have been challenging the traditional idea of linear storytelling, suggesting a more ‘horizontal’ approach, for example starting with an interactive idea rather than a text article.
“They’re not necessarily coming from a news editor deciding what the agenda is and driving it down through the chain. It’s actually picking up on something that’s far more ethereal. It’s not user-generated content, it’s something far more nebular than that. It seems to feed an appetite,” explained Williams.
The title is keen to employ people who are ‘able to manipulate data in innovative ways’, he added. A specialist in data and mapping is currently being sought, though the paper has struggled to find the right candidate as yet, Williams said.