Curly's Corner Shop, the blog!

South Shields premier political blog

The war on photographers.

with 6 comments

Rights still being trampled on!

I am grateful to Rossinisbird and his assiduous reading of The Register and bringing this to my attention.

More stories of photographers being denied the right to take photographs in public, more attempts to link it to paedophilia in the most sinister of fashions, so just what is going on? Is photography, along with freedom of speech and other cherished rights, about to go out of the window?

Nearly, but not quite.

The Register makes it pretty clear in it’s article (and it’s worth following all of the links) that the clampdown on photographers by various authorities is once again driven by our risk averse society, irrational public fears over security and paedophiles, and a feeling of “better safe than sorry”. Very much mirroring my experiences on Bank Holiday Monday here in South Shields and reiterating some of the arguments:

The Met recently ran a campaign that pointed a finger of suspicion at photographers. This cannot help but whip up public fear of anyone with a camera.

The irony, of course, is that anyone taking photos in preparation for a terrorist atrocity would most likely be discreet. They would use small or mobile phone cameras. Yet those who have been stopped have frequently been individuals with serious high-powered SLR equipment. Have the police not thought this through? Or do they suspect terrorists of running some form of elaborate double bluff?

Once an activity falls under the shadow of suspicion, it is inevitable that other officials will get in on the act. They are now empowered to bend the law. Jobsworths of every shade – from traffic wardens to PCSOs to Park Keepers – have attempted to prevent the public taking photographs, for all manner of thoroughly fictitious reasons.

As Austin Mitchell puts it: “We are seeing a lot of isolated incidents creating a pattern that will in time lead to an inhibition on taking photos. Photographers need to assert their rights under the law as it stands. Or they will lose them.”

I certainly have no intention of being cowed by these “authorities” with their knee jerk reactions and fully intend to pursue my photographic interests with even more enthusiasm than in the past. I know that I will not act illegally and it’s time that the police, pcso’s, security guards, and even civilian enforcement officers, as well as some soft headed members of the public got the message too.

Someone with a camera is not necessarily a terrorist or a paedo!

Yesterday The Register reported another such incident:

Rob McCaffrey, 50, had apparently over 40 years built up an impressive 30,000 pics of buses, coaches and trams from across the globe, but has now put the lens cap on for good because he “keeps being mistaken for a terrorist and paedophile”.

He explained: “Since the 9/11 attacks there has been a crackdown on security and it seems everyone with a camera is now regarded as a potential criminal. The past two years have absolutely been the worst. I have had the most appalling abuse from the public, drivers and police over-exercising their authority.

“People like me just want to enjoy our hobby without harassment but it is impossible now.”

All I can say is “Rob, stand up for yourself man! Don’t allow yourself to be yet another pawn in the war against civil liberties.”

Here are some other reports of “authorities” overstepping the mark:

Finally, The Register offers a guide to what you can or cannot photograph.

Related Post

Perhaps David Davis ought to be asking Austin Mitchell to join him campaigning in his Haltemprice constituency and adding this issue to the long list of civil liberties that he intends to fight for. The Broon’s government has an awful  lot to answer for!

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Written by curly

June 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Blogging, Freedom, Law, liberty, News

Tagged with ,

6 Responses

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  1. Good post, but please don’t credit “Jailhouse Lawyer” with a link to his site. He was convicted of sticking an axe through an old woman’s head, after all.

    He surfaces every now and then spouting rubbish here and there, especially on Iain Dale’s blog, but he’s still a convicted murderer and shouldn’t be allowed to waste the electrons.

    Rest of the post was great though.


    June 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm

  2. I’m quite aware of his past, and he is still entitled to a free opinion, his conviction is spent, his time is served, his debt is paid.

    I suppose being a blogger that he is a danger to society too.


    June 25, 2008 at 5:24 pm

  3. […] Here is some more nonsense in the war on photographers. […]

  4. […] constituting being seen as an assault this week, as well as staging a long term polemic against the War on Photographers, having been accosted by the authorities after taking pictures at a fair ground. This last post has […]

  5. […] The war on photographers […]

  6. […] The war on photographers […]

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