That hotbed of radical dissent the British Journal of Photography reports this week on disturbing police powers to forbid photography in certain situations. Bizarrely Home Secretary Jacqui Smith states in a letter responding to a query from the NUJ:
“First of all, may I take this opportunity to state that the Government greatly values the importance of the freedom of the press, and as such there is no legal restriction on photography in public places,”
“Decisions may be made locally to restrict or monitor photography in reasonable circumstances. That is an operational decision for the officers involved based on the individual circumstances of each situation.”
Which seems to imply what we’ve long suspected, even the Government supports the old bill making up the law as they go along. This whole row has blown up after the NUJ wrote to her about stasi-like tactics of the FIT teams who have taken to harassing and filming journalists along with protesters, activists and football supporters.
NUJ secretary general, Jeremy Dear, wrote to Smith at the end of June, and you can read the letter and his objections here.