Picture: One of the photographers supporting the campaign at the launch party in London a few days ago. (Picture credit: Jonathan Warren)
Photographers’ nationwide fight for the right to take pictures in public unchallenged by police and security officials has escalated following the launch of a new campaign.
The move comes several years after Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine first highlighted the increasing difficulties photographers face amid terrorism fears – leading the magazine to mount its own campaign fuelled by reports from its readers.
Launched by a group of press photographers – yet aimed at amateurs and professionals – the new campaign is called: ‘I’m a photographer not a Terrorist!’ (AP has no direct involvement in this latest campaign).
‘This campaign is for everyone who values visual imagery and press freedom,’ said a spokesman. ‘Photography is under attack. Across the country anyone with a camera is targeted as a potential terrorist.’
Campaigners say they plan to stage a series of events in a bid to show ‘how pointless these restrictions are’.
Referring to police officers’ powers under Section 44, and the new Section 76, of the Terrorism Act, campaigners added: ‘We strongly feel that these new laws are going to destroy the future visual history of the UK.’
Among those behind the venture is Jeff Moore, chairman of the British Press Photographers’ Association who told AP that the response to the campaign has been very positive.
Moves to defend photographers’ rights have gathered pace in recent years.
Last year AP’s campaign helped raise the profile of the issue via the national media, prompting similar campaigns within the industry.
In the spring, AP staff lobbied the counter-terrorism minister in a meeting organised in the Houses of Parliament by Austin Mitchell MP.
Afterwards AP’s news editor delivered – by hand – a dossier of reported incidents to the Home Office which had pledged to work with the magazine in the drafting of new police guidelines. These guidelines have yet to be released.
Organisers have launched a website which can be found at www.photographernotaterrorist.org
Moore added: ‘This website is not just for professionals, it is very much aimed at everyone from pros, high-end amateurs and mums using their camera phones.’