Has Ken Livingstone done a photography U-turn?
November 17, 2005
London mayor Ken Livingstone is no longer suggesting ? openly at least ? that signs should be put up in public areas to warn parents of the supposed dangers of digital photography.
Earlier this year Livingstone warned parents to be vigilant about strangers using digital cameras and camera phones to take pictures of children in London?s parks and ?other public spaces? in support of police plans to crackdown on paedophiles (see AP 11 June 2005).
Livingstone had suggested putting up warning signs in Greater London Authority-owned property including Trafalgar Square and he planned to discuss the possibility of putting up signs elsewhere in the capital after discussions with councils and other landowners in the capital.
The move ? branded ?political correctness gone mad? by MP Austin Mitchell – sparked AP?s nationwide campaign to fight for the rights of photographers to freely take pictures in public.
However, a new statement from the Mayor?s office released to AP in the past few days makes no mention of such signs regarding photography.
However, neither – when pressed – did the Mayor?s spokesman rule out such a possibility. It states that signs were placed in Trafalgar Square ?on hot days? during the summer months advising people against climbing into the fountains because they are not intended for ?paddling or swimming in?. The statement adds: ‘Amateur and tourist photography is permitted in Trafalgar Square, including digital photography. The GLA has absolutely no intention of preventing legitimate photographers from taking pictures and it is ridiculous to attempt to infer that amateur photographers are being targeted – the Mayor has supported an amateur photography competition for the past three years.?
The statement continues: ?All that is being asked is that parents, carers and others in responsible positions to be vigilant against the small minority of individuals who might misuse digital technology. The mayor and police have suggested that other bodies who have responsibility for public spaces also think about this issue.?
? For more on whether this new development represents a climbdown by the powers that be ? and a victory for photo enthusiasts everywhere – see upcoming issues of AP. In the meantime, if you have a view on this, please get in touch.