Photographers are set to ?flashmob? London?s City Hall on 3 May, to protest that private security guards prevent them taking pictures in privately owned ?public spaces?.
Organised by the I?m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist! campaign group, the event will take place at City Hall, SE1 2AA at 12.30pm.
Participants are urged to bring along tripods.
‘Private security guards are being mandated to control and attempt to prohibit photography from public spaces of private (corporate) buildings,’ said architectural photographer Grant Smith, one of the organisers.
‘The authority to do this is illegal and amounts to legitimisation of these security forces to act as law enforcers, without public accountability,’ he claimed.
Despite a recent overhaul of anti-terror laws, many photographers – both amateur and professional – feel that carrying a camera in public is still seen as a crime.
Campaigners say ‘areas designated as public realm are often privately managed spaces that are subject to rules laid down by private management companies’.
They claim: ‘Most insidious of these is the outright banning of photography in some of our most widely enjoyed public spaces, such as Canary Wharf and the Thames Walk between Tower Bridge and City Hall.’
Earlier this year, following its review of police anti-terrorism powers, the Government promised to strengthen guidelines given to private security personnel, in a bid to ensure ‘overzealous’ officials do not stop photographers unfairly.
Speaking in February, a Home Office spokeswoman said that, in wake of the counter-terrorism review, it would be consulting with photographers on this matter.
She told Amateur Photographer: ‘As set out in the published review, we will also be reviewing the guidance to police and security guards. The Home Office will do this in consultation with photography and journalist groups.’
The ‘Flashmob City Hall’ event will coincide with International Press Freedom Day and is backed by the National Union of Journalists.