School dinner photo ban legality questioned (update)

A council’s ban on photos of school dinners may have breached European rights on freedom of speech, a leading lawyer has told Amateur Photographer (AP).

rights watch placard

After a storm of protest on the internet, Argyll and Bute Council in Scotland has overturned - at least temporarily – its ban on Martha Payne posting pictures of school food on her NeverSeconds blog.

However, lawyer Charles Swan, an expert on photography law, questions the council's right to ban photos in the first place.

Swan told Amateur Photographer: ‘I imagine its decision could be challenged legally under Human Rights legislation as an interference with the girl's right to freedom of speech.'

Argyll and Bute Council declined to comment when asked what law it relied on in banning photography.

Confirming that the ban has now been lifted, council leader Roddy McCuish said in a statement: ‘I have advised senior officers that the [school] administration intends to clarify the council's policy position in regard to taking photos in schools.'

McCuish also announced plans for a 'School Meals Summit', set to take place later this summer involving catering staff, pupils and council officials.

On her blog, Martha rated the meals she was served at Lochgilphead Primary School. 

However, catering staff feared for their jobs following negative coverage in the press.

A few weeks ago, AP revealed plans by Glasgow transport bosses to ban all photography on the city's underground train system.

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