Photographers protest against ban from public spaces

Photographers in London descended on City Hall to campaign against ‘creeping restrictions of press freedom in the capital’that sees them banned from public spaces including Canary Wharf and Tower Bridge.

The ‘flashmob’ was organised by the I am a Photographer Not a Terrorist (PHNAT) campaign group, supported by the NUJ and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

PHNAT said that around 50 photographers gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday, which was World Press Freedom Day. It is an area where it alleges police and private security guards have attempted to ban photographers

IFJ has supported the campaign by the NUJ to change anti-terrorism legislation – and in particular Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which was found by the European Court of Human Rights to breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect for private and family life).

The section was suspended pending a review of counter-terrorism powers, including the use of terrorism legislation in relation to photography. The review was prompted by complaints from photographers over harassment by police using stop-and-search powers.

PHNAT claims the Coalition Government has now reintroduced remedial orders reinstating these measures which will impede their work covering public events, including the recent anti-cuts protests.

‘The ban on photography is an arbitrary measure which frustrates photojournalists’ work and our colleagues are rightly dismayed that it is still in place,’said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

‘The event in London was a powerful message to the authorities to change course and lift all unnecessary restrictions on media work.”

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