Sunday, 27 December 2009

We are not terrorists! 365 photographers sign open letter

365 photographers have signed a letter, published in the Sunday Telegraph, criticising the police's targeting of photographers under 'anti-terror' legislation. The letter begins: 'As professional and amateur photographers, we are deeply concerned about the treatment of those taking pictures in public places. Photographers using equipment larger than a compact camera are frequently stopped and searched under anti-terrorist legislation, which they find humiliating.'

They note that 'some in the police, especially PCSOs, believe it is illegal to take any pictures of a police officer. This is because of ambiguous legislation, introduced earlier this year, which made it an imprisonable offence to collect "information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".'

The letter concludes: 'Rather than treat photographers as terrorists, the Government should amend the Anti-Terrorism Act to prevent its misuse and explain to police forces that a hostile attitude towards photographers is unwelcome.'

Read the full letter HERE.

The picture is by Guy Smallman. It is from February, when hundreds of photographers protested at Scotland Yard in London. Their 'mass photoshoot' protest was objecting to Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act, which allowed the arrest of photographers for taking pictures of police officers.


  1. Ridiculous and completely OTT. Soon they'll ban groups of more than 3 related people gathering in a public place, too! But surely anyone planning a terrorist attack would, if taking photos, do it covertly, rather than openly with some kind of large camera, so what is this law really all about?

  2. It is indeed petty and pointless. I think it's really playing an ideological role, i.e. it is part of a wider assualt on civil liberties, which is linked to Islamophobia and the 'war on terror'. Curtailing civil liberties and stoking Islamophobia are part of the ideological war at home, that goes with the actual war abroad. This kind of nonsense fits in with that bigger picture.