Photojournalist Jess Hurd is concerned that recent media coverage has portrayed all photographers as ‘paparazzi’
The move follows media coverage of the furore that surrounded recent publication, outside the UK, of pictures of a topless Kate Middleton that are alleged to have breached French privacy laws.
The London Photographers’ Branch (LPB) of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) will complain that their colleagues in radio and TV tend to brand all press photographers ‘paparazzi’ and – in response – has issued a 10-point list called ‘In Defence of Photography‘.
The document, to be given out at a gathering of the NUJ’s print and broadcast journalists, points out that a paparazzo is a ‘freelance photographer who doggedly pursues celebrities to take candid pictures for sale to magazines and newspapers’.
It adds: ‘Most photographers do not chase celebrities.’
Though LPB chair Jess Hurd said the document was not drawn up in ‘direct response’ to the Kate Middleton story, she told Amateur Photographer (AP): ‘We felt that [the Kate Middleton coverage] did reach fever pitch and that pertinent facts needed to be raised as part of the discourse.’
Hurd (pictured above) added: ‘Obviously, we need to have a discussion with our broadcast colleagues who repeatedly refer to press photographers as ‘paparazzi’…
‘The document will be distributed to our union colleagues and discussed at the NUJ Delegate Meeting in Newcastle this weekend.’
The photography body points out that while press freedom is a ‘central tenet of a true democracy’ – and photography in a public place should be defended – the media is ‘subject to the same criminal law as everyone else and should be held accountable’.
The LPB blames a ‘dumbing down of the media’ on magazine and newspaper editors and people who read ‘celebrity gossip’.
The NUJ meeting takes place at the Civic Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne from 5-7 October.
• Further coverage of this subject will appear in AP in due course
[Picture credit: C Cheesman]