Photojournalist Marc Vallée comments on the new guidelines issued by the Metropolitan police service (MPS) for the public and the media on photography in public places, over at the Guardian’s Comment is Free. Full post at this link. He writes:
“It details the Met’s interpretation of anti-terrorism legislation, and how these laws should be used against photographers. Professional photographers such as myself view it as part of an ongoing campaign to create a hostile environment for photography in the public sphere.”
One area highlighted by Vallée:
The advice covers section 44, section 43 and section 58a of the Terrorism Act 2000 (58a is more commonly known as section 76). On sections 44 and 43, the MPS say that “officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched”.
Vallée says that guidance for section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, which came into force at the beginning of this year, is key.
“It amends the Terrorism Act 2000 to make it an offence to elicit or attempt to elicit information about an individual who is or has been a member of the armed forces, intelligence services, or a police officer in Great Britain – this has been an offence in Northern Ireland since 2000.”
What does the guidance say?
The MPS advice says that section 76 (58a) “should ordinarily be considered inappropriate to use… to arrest people photographing police officers in the course of normal policing activities, including protests”.
What does Vallée say?
“Section 76 should be scrapped.”
Background on Journalism.co.uk Editors’ blog:
- April 17, 2009: Guardian.co.uk: ‘Marc Vallée on journalists on the front line at G20’
- December 2, 2008: ‘Stop-and-search: new guidance for police treatment of photographers’