Thursday, February 22, 2007

Photographers’ Rights

Apparently there are plans to impose restrictions on photography in public places. Simon Taylor has created an E-Petition on the Government's petitions website. To quote:

“There are a number of moves promoting the requirement of 'ID' cards to allow photographers to operate in a public place.

It is a fundamental right of a UK citizen to use a camera in a public place, indeed there is no right to privacy when in a public place.

These moves have developed from paranoia and only promote suspicion towards genuine people following their hobby or profession.”

I couldn't agree more. I'm often approached by ill-informed security people telling me I “can't take photographs here”. No thanks to the government there's a worsening climate of paranoia and, as is usually the case, our freedom is the first victim. Here is the petition:

Here is a clarification on Simon Taylor's website. Having read further, there is no proposed bill to petition against, though several bodies have proposed an ID card system.


gridrunner said...

Being a signee of this petition, I've just received a response from the government:

Thank you for signing the petition on the Downing Street website calling for the Prime Minister to stop proposed restrictions on photography in public places.

This petition has already attracted over 60,000 signatures from people who obviously share your concern. Not surprisingly, the idea that the Government might be poised to restrict your ability to take photos has caused some puzzlement and even alarm.

We have therefore decided to respond to this petition before its closing date of August, in order to reassure people.

The Government appreciates that millions of people in this country enjoy photography. So we have checked carefully to see if any Government department was considering any proposal that might possibly lead to the sort of restrictions suggested by this petition. We have been assured this is not the case.

There may be cases where individual schools or other bodies believe it is necessary to have some restrictions on photography, for instance to protect children, but that would be a matter for local decisions.

In fact, Simon Taylor, who started the petition, has since made clear that he was not really referring to Government action or legislation. His main concern appears to be that photographic societies and other organisations may introduce voluntary ID cards for members to help them explain why they are taking photographs. Again, any such scheme would not involve the Government.

We hope this re-assures you and clears up the confusion.

Nick said...

Rock and roll! The government listens.

Only caveat is of the non-governmental stance of protecting children. Which I still find ridiculous.

Especially given some of the amazing shots that Martin Parr took that would brand him a paedo in todays society.