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Tributes to a fallen journalist Tim Hetherington

April 21st, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Photography

Last night news broke that a Western journalist was believed to have been killed in Libya.

It wasn’t too long before more details emerged from within the country and the UK Foreign Office was able to confirm the death of Tim Hetherington, a British born photojournalist – the first British journalist known to have been killed since conflict broke out in Libya earlier this year.

When news of his death came out three other photographers were also reported as being injured, and it was later confirmed by Getty Images that one of the trio, its staff reporter Chris Hondros, had died from his injuries late on Wednesday.

Hetherington, who was born in Liverpool but lived in the US, contributing to titles such as Vanity Fair.

He was said by his family to be in Libya as part of a multimedia project to highlight humanitarian issues during time of war and conflict.

Since his death, tributes have been flooding in across British and international press.

We have collected together just some of the examples of his work being celebrated, and the messages being given in his memory.

Vanity Fair's homepage featuring the slideshow

Vanity Fair, which also published a statement which it claimed to be from Hetherington’s family last night, has produced a slideshow portfolio of the photojournalist’s work produced for the magazine. This includes images from Afghanistan, the setting for his Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo.

Panos Pictures, which also published work by Hetherington, also offered its condolences as news broke yesterday, saying he was “an irreplaceable friend and contributor to our agency since the earliest days”.

He combined a fierce intelligence with a deeply creative approach to photography and filmmaking that marked him apart from his peers.

He knew what path he wanted to follow, his work was direct and purposeful and stood as an example to many of his proteges.

We are still trying to come to terms with how someone so full of life could be stopped so cruelly in his tracks.

Speaking on Newsnight last night friend and fellow journalist James Brabazon called Tim, who had previously also worked with the BBC, as “a leading light of his generation”.

It really is not an exaggeration to say that his eye and his ability for what he did was unique, and his reportage really defined a generation of covering conflict.

The main thing about Tim to understand is that he was fundamentally a humanitarian.

A lot of the work that he did wasn’t just for the news or for magazines but was for human rights organisations as well.

He was a really passionate and an incredibly talented storyteller.

The Guardian has also produced a slideshow of Hetherington’s work, showcasing his coverage of conflict across the world and on a Facebook page for Hetherington tributes continue to be left.

Below is a video preview of his documentary Restrepo:

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Lens blog: Photojournalist’s images from the moment he stepped on a landmine

November 30th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Photography

The New York Times’ Lens blog has published photographs taken by one of its photographers Joao Silva just before and after he stepped on a landmine while working in Afghanistan that gave him internal injuries and destroyed both his legs.

Full post on Lens at this link…

Friends of the photojournalist have set up a website to raise funds for his recovery – read the report on Journalism.co.uk at this link.

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BJP: Photographers sue Met Police for treatment at Greek embassy protests

“Two photographers have filed a legal claim against the Metropolitan Police after they were unlawfully prevented from reporting the protests outside the Greek embassy last year,” the British Journal of Photography reports.

Photojournalist Marc Vallée and videojournalist Jason Parkinson are seeking an apology and damages from the Metropolitan police. Vallée makes the announcement on his blog here.

“The photographers were covering protests outside the Greek embassy in London on 08 December 2008 when a police officer deliberately obstructed them in their work. They also claim they were physically removed from any area from which they could document events.”

British Journal of Photography story at this link.

More to follow from Journalism.co.uk.

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Frontline Club: The media and anti-terrorism laws 7pm GMT

Watch the Frontline’s event on the media and anti-terrorism legislation here, at 7pm tonight:

Here’s the run-down from the Frontline Club:

[also see Marc Vallée’s blog]

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

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Afghanistan in the media: ‘The Good War?’ Public meeting – July 13

A public meeting is to be held in London on July 13, hosted by Media Workers Against the War / Stop the War Coalition.

The Good War? Afghanistan in the media

Speakers include:

  • Stephen Grey, investigative journalist embedded with British troops in Helmand and author: ‘Operation Snakebite: The Explosive True Story of an Afghan Desert Siege’, and ‘Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program’.
  • Guy Smallman, photojournalist, recently returned from Helmand.

7pm, July 13: Friends Meeting House (small hall), 173 Euston Road, NW1 2BJ, opposite Euston station.

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Guardian.co.uk: Marc Vallée on journalists on the front line at G20

April 17th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick

A piece on the treatment of journalists at G20 from photojournalist Marc Vallee, over at the Guardian’s Comment is Free:

“Who needs section 76 when you have a baton? Back in February I wrote how terror legislation had been increasingly used by this government, and brutally enforced by the police, to criminalise not only those who protest but also those who dare to give the oxygen of publicity to such dissent.”

Full post at this link…

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NUJ speaks out against Met Police ‘heavy-handedness’ at Greek Embassy Protests

December 10th, 2008 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Photography, Press freedom and ethics

Further to our blog post this morning, showing police interfering with photojournalist Marc Valleé while he was attempting to photograph protests at the Greek Embassy on Monday, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has released a statement criticising the Metropolitan Police for the way they handled media coverage of the protests outside the Greek Embassy on Monday.

The NUJ said it had received reports that ‘at least one of its members suffered physical injury as a result of their handling by the police’.

“There are clear guidelines which discuss how the police should work with the media and officers policing demonstrations need to be made aware of their responsibilities. The police know very well our concerns around cases like this and it’s simply unacceptable for our members to continue to have problems when covering protests. Such basic infringements of our members’ rights must stop,” the release said.

“Heavy-handed policing meant journalists were prevented from doing their jobs as they tried to report on the protests which took place on Monday. Photographs from the protests show the police deliberately obstructing photographers in their work and journalists have complained of being physically removed from any area from which they could document events.”

“The police must remember that they have responsibilities towards the media,” said NUJ Legal Officer Roy Mincoff, in the release. “Even where a protest is itself illegal, the media have a right to report on events and the police should not be taking action with the intention of obstructing journalists in their work,” he added.

Journalism.co.uk is following up, and will report more when further information is received.

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Police and photographers clash at Greek Embassy protests

December 10th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Photography, Press freedom and ethics

Photographers reporting on a blockade of the Greek Embassy by Greek and British anarchists in London on Monday 8 December found themselves in conflict with police officers at the scene.

These photographs by Philip Caller (his other photos of the protest can be viewed here) document a police officer grabbing and lifting up photographic equipment hanging around the neck of photojournalist Marc Valleé.

Vallée, who has featured on Journalism.co.uk before in regards to his investigation of rights under the Terrorism Act 2000, also publishes the photos on his blog.

(Photos Philip Caller/ www.flickr.com/photos/filkaler/) (c) Philip Caller, 2008.)

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Stop-and-search: new guidance for police treatment of photographers

As reported by theregister.co.uk and the British Journal of Photography, new terrorism guidance for police officers has been issued. The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) has released its update ‘Practice Advice’ on stop-and-search powers, with reference to the Terrorism Act 2000.

The advice includes guidance for police officers on how to deal with photographers, but is not final. It has now been circulated to forces for final comments. After further consulatation it will need to be endorsed by the Assosiation of Chief Police Offices. (ACPO) [information courtesy of photojournalist Marc Vallée]

This announcement follows up from Marc Vallée’s assessment of the situation here and here.

The guidance:

“The Terrorism Act 2000 does not prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place.  Officers should not prevent people taking photographs unless they are in an area where photography is prevented by other legislation.

“If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance, a search under section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or an arrest should be considered. Film and memory cards may be seized as part of the search, but officers do not have a legal power to delete images or destroy film.

“Although images may be viewed as part of a search, to preserve evidence when cameras or other devices are seized, officers should not normally attempt to examine them.  Cameras and other devices should be left in the state they were found and forwarded to appropriately trained staff for forensic examination.  The person being searched should never be asked or allowed to turn the device on or off because of the danger of evidence being lost or damaged.

“Film and memory cards may be seized as part of the search and images may be viewed as part of a search.”

Marc Vallée asks on his blog:


“What is going on here?  Does Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 override the long held journalistic protection of Special Procedure Material under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE)?

“As an article on the EPUK website put it last year: ‘Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, material such as a journalist’s notes, photographs, computer files or tapes are classified as Special Procedure Material, which have a higher level of protection than ordinary possessions.’

“Which means if the police want to look at such material then they would have to go in front of a judge and explain why.”

Pictured: A press photographer files images on the move as environmental activists march from the Camp for Climate Action to Kingsnorth Power Station Hoo, Kent, England on Saturday August 9 2008. 2,000 campaigners marched on the Power Station with the aim to shut it down for the day. (Photo Marc Vallée/marcvallee.co.uk) (c) Marc Vallée, 2008.

In the meantime, until further information is obtained, Ray Mincoff, the NUJ legal editor, has issued this statement:

“We welcome the publication of unequivocal guidance showing that the Terrorism Act does not prohibit the taking of photographs in public places.

“The authorities must now ensure that police officers are aware of the limits to their powers. It must also be made crystal clear that the right to seize film and memory cards can only be used in the very exceptional circumstances where there are strong grounds for suspecting someone of being a terrorist.

“If section 43 of the Act ends up being casually used by officers in the same slapdash manner as other parts of the legislation, it would seriously inhibit the ability of journalists to work in our cities. The police cannot routinely use anti-terror or other legislation to stop journalists in their lawful and proper work. Neither must they see these guidelines as a green light to seize journalistic material, the special nature of which is recognised by law.

“We will also be looking carefully at other aspects of the guidelines to assess other possible effects on civil liberties and the free press.”

UPDATE:

Marc Vallée wrote to the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA).

“Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, material such as a journalist’s notes, photographs, computer files or tapes are classified as Special Procedure Material, which have a higher level of protection than ordinary possessions,” he wrote.

“What is the view of the NPIA on this in the context of stop-and-search powers like S43? Could a UK Press Card carrying photographer use Special Procedure Material to stop or limit the scope of a stop-and-search under S43? or S44?”

They responded:

“There has been no change to the law. These guidelines remind officers that they can only stop-and-search photographers in exceptional cases where they believe they are involved in some kind of terrorist information gathering activity.”

UPDATE TWO (02/12/08): the NPIA has now added this statement:

“The Practice Advice makes it clear that there has been no change in the law. Journalist material will continue to enjoy the higher level of protection offered under PACE.

“For example, if a police officer suspects that photographs are being taken as part of terrorist information gathering they will rightly investigate. But once the stopped person makes it clear that they are a journalist then this will usually reassure police that they have legitimate reasons for taking photographs.”

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NUJ calls for investigation into death of photojournalist Richard Mills

July 30th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called for a full investigation into the death of photojournalist Richard Mills, who died while working for The Times in Zimbabwe.

In a letter from NUJ president James Doherty to South African president Thabo Mbeki, the union raised concerns that Mills’ death could be linked to his work and was not suicide as claimed by the Zimbabwean authorities.

“The National Union of Journalists shares with his family, colleagues and friends their grave concern at the circumstances surrounding Richard’s death (…)You will be aware that the current Zimbabwean government has a notorious record in relation to human rights and freedom of expression. Against this background we are requesting that you raise this incident in your discussions with Zimbabwean authorities to ensure that it is investigated in an open and transparent manner,” the letter said.

Mills, whose funeral was held in Belfast yesterday, was working undercover for The Times at the time of his death.

Editorial Photographers UK published an obituary for Richard on the site.

UPDATE – the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), who had also called for an investigation into Richard’s death, have withdrawn their demand after his family announced they had accepted the result of a post-mortem, which suggested he had taken his own life.

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