Photographers to share negative Olympic experience

Freelance snapping their way around London in the run-up to the Olympic Games are asked to share their experiences amid ongoing concern about harassment of photographers by officialdom.


Only last month a photographer taking pictures in Parliament Square was stopped and harassed by a warden on the payroll of the Greater London Authority because, the camera-owner was told, he was standing on the lawn.


The GLA has since apologised for the incident and says byelaws relating to the grassy area were not interpreted correctly by the warden.


In its response, it also said use of a camera was likely to be an issue only where its owner was “causing harassment to a warden” and stopping them from doing their duties.


But photography rights group I’m a Photographer Not A Terrorist (PHNAT) isn’t satisfied. It wants all camera users, regardless of their ability or nature of their picture-taking, to share any other “negative”, or positive, experiences they have in the capital under the Olympics banner.


Even an official, of the police or event organisers, citing “the Olympics” as a reason to stop or question a photographer is of interest, PHNAT said, inviting submissions to a dedicated email address.


It reflected: “With a huge police operation, thousands of troops, private security and new legal powers taking over parts of London during the upcoming Olympic & Paralympic games, the PHNAT campaign will be closely monitoring the experiences of photographers, both amateur and professional,around the events & sites.”


According to fresh GLA guidance, issued in response to the Parliament Sq. incident, there are “no restrictions” on the use of cameras or camcorders for private or amateur use. And for news-gathering activities in the square, authorised media personnel operate under a scheme.


“In terms of non commercial and amateur photography/footage, the GLA has no legal power, or interest, in relation to where imagines are posted/published,” the authority added, referring to the March 21st incident, involving a freelance film maker.


It added: “That is totally a matter for the person taking the recording as they are responsible for what they do with their images.”

Editor’s Note: Further Reading

Photographers' rights spelt out to security staff



11th April 2012

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