December 2009

NUJ Code of Conduct [I do this ….. i hope others do also]

A journalist
1 At all times upholds and defends the principle of media freedom, the right of freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed
2 Strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair
3 Does her/his utmost to correct harmful inaccuracies
4 Differentiates between fact and opinion
5 Obtains material by honest, straightforward and open means, with the exception of investigations that are both overwhelmingly in the public interest and which involve evidence that cannot be obtained by straightforward means
6 Does nothing to intrude into anybody’s private life, grief or distress unless justified by overriding consideration of the public interest
7 Protects the identity of sources who supply information in confidence and material gathered in the course of her/his work
8 Resists threats or any other inducements to influence, distort or suppress information
9 Takes no unfair personal advantage of information gained in the course of her/his duties before the information is public knowledge
10 Produces no material likely to lead to hatred or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age, gender, race, colour, creed, legal status, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation
11 Does not by way of statement, voice or appearance endorse by advertisement any commercial product or service save for the promotion of her/his own work or of the medium by which she/he is employed
12 Avoids plagiarism.

The NUJ believes a journalist has the right to refuse an assignment or be identified as the author of editorial that would break the letter or spirit of the code. The NUJ will fully support any journalist disciplined for asserting her/ his right to act according to the code.

Account of a watercolour painter, going through the same troubles as photographers, with inadequate policing.

I was stopped and searched twice near London City airport – for watercolouring! I was not even facing the airport. I was painting the Tate and Lyle sugar factory opposite. They said they saw me on a camera and thought that “no one would want to paint a factory”. I explained that LS Lowry did loads. Then they said I could be an anarchist and I was carrying “suspicious paraphernalia” – this being a flask of coffee and an iPod. Oh, and a box of watercolours.

Once they had all my gear out, rummaged through what identity documentation I had and double-checked it on a few radios, they were satisfied I was just “weird” and left me to it. Until the next week, when I went back to finish off the picture and had to go through the same rigmarole all over again.

I have painted in Ukraine, Russia, Vietnam and plenty of other “controlled” states, and have never been questioned about watercolour anarchism.

From Press Bureau at New Scotland Yard – last updated Mon 14/12/09 16:31 Telephone: 020 7230 2171

Statement by Assistant Commissioner John Yates

John Yates, Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations, has today reminded all MPS officers and staff that people taking photographs in public should not be stopped and searched unless there is a valid reason.

The message, which has been circulated to all Borough Commanders and published on the MPS intranet, reinforces guidance previously issued around powers relating to stop and search under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Guidance on the issue will continue to be included in briefings to all operational officers and staff.

Mr Yates said: “People have complained that they are being stopped when taking photographs in public places. These stops are being recorded under Stop and Account and under Section 44 of TACT. The complaints have included allegations that people have been told that they cannot photograph certain public buildings, that they cannot photograph police officers or PCSOs and that taking photographs is, in itself, suspicious.

“Whilst we must remain vigilant at all times in dealing with suspicious behaviour, staff must also be clear that:

. there is no restriction on people taking photographs in public places or of any building other than in very exceptional circumstances
. there is no prohibition on photographing front-line uniform staff
. the act of taking a photograph in itself is not usually sufficient to carry out a stop.

“Unless there is a very good reason, people taking photographs should not be stopped.

“An enormous amount of concern has been generated about these matters. You will find below what I hope is clear and unequivocal guidance on what you can and cannot do in respect of these sections. This complements and reinforces previous guidance that has been issued. You are reminded that in any instance where you do have reasonable suspicion then you should use your powers under Section 43 TACT 2000 and account for it in the normal way.

“These are important yet intrusive powers. They form a vital part of our overall tactics in deterring and detecting terrorist attacks. We must use these powers wisely. Public confidence in our ability to do so rightly depends upon your common sense. We risk losing public support when they are used in circumstances that most reasonable people would consider inappropriate.”


The guidance:

Section 43 Terrorism Act 2000

Section 43 is a stop and search power which can be used if a police officer has reasonable suspicion that a person may be a terrorist.

Any police officer can:

– Stop and search a person who they reasonably suspect to be a terrorist to discover whether they have in their possession anything which may constitute evidence that they are a terrorist.

– View digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by the person searched to discover whether the images constitute evidence they are involved in terrorism.

– Seize and retain any article found during the search which the officer reasonably suspects may constitute evidence that the person is a terrorist, including any mobile telephone or camera containing such evidence.

The power, in itself, does not permit a vehicle to be stopped and searched.

Section 44 Terrorism Act 2000

Section 44 is a stop and search power which can be used by virtue of a person being in a designated area.

Where an authority is in place, police officers in uniform, or PCSOs IF ACCOMPANIED by a police officer can:

– Stop and search any person; reasonable grounds to suspect an individual is a terrorist are not required. (PCSOs cannot search the person themselves, only their property.)

– View digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched, provided that the viewing is to determine whether the images contained in the camera or mobile telephone are connected with terrorism.

– Seize and retain any article found during the search which the officer reasonably suspects is intended to be used in connection with terrorism.

General points

Officers do not have the power to delete digital images, destroy film or to prevent photography in a public place under either power. Equally, officers are also reminded that under these powers they must not access text messages, voicemails or emails.

Where it is clear that the person being searched under Sections 43 or 44 is a journalist, officers should exercise caution before viewing images as images acquired or created for the purposes of journalism may constitute journalistic material and should not be viewed without a Court Order.

If an officer’s rationale for effecting a stop is that the person is taking photographs as a means of hostile reconnaissance, then it should be borne in mind that this should be under the Section 43 power. Officers should not default to the Section 44 power in such instances simply because the person is within one of the designated areas

Some links to just the last couple days of photography restriction stories. We are collecting hundreds now.

What value are the chief constable’s words? – BJP 9 December 2009

‘I’m a photographer not a terrorist’ badge leaves police unconvinced – The Wire 9 December 2009

Photographer ‘arrested’ with Leica M6 in London suburb – Amateur Photographer 10 December 2009

MP pushes for debate over photographer stops – The Independent 10 December 2009

Police crackdown on City photographers – Amateur Photographer 11 December 2009

Fish and chip photographer arrest ‘unlawful’, say police chiefs – Amateur Photographer 11 December 2009

Police snapper silliness reaches new heights – The Register 11 December 2009

Police: Photographers should carry identification – Amateur Photographer 11 December 2009

S44 abuse of photographers raised in Parliament – 11 December 2009

From Snapshot to Special Branch: how my camera made me a terror suspect – Guardian 11 December 2009

A few photographs add up to a minor terror alert – Guardian 11 December 2009

We’re photographers, not terrorists, Marc Vallée – Guardian 11 December 2009

Well respected photojournalist pursues complaint to the IPCC after being stopped whilst
working by police who tell her we can do anything under the terrorism act – Bindmans 11 December 2009

The picture that could land you in jail:
How police in Big Brother Britain treat you like a terrorist for taking holiday snaps –
Daily Mail 12 December 2009

Everyone that has watched the flow for the last couple of weeks of police restriction and general arsiness, might conclude there is nothing photographers can do about these stop and searches, is there? They the police, they can do what they like!!. This case will show that sommat can be done, and will be successful. good luck Jess

Well respected photojournalist pursues complaint to the IPCC after being stopped whilst
working by police who tell her we can do anything under the terrorism act
– Bindmans 11 December 2009

more on what i’m trying to do with my camera on my mobile. I am in good company:::

Writers are often given the sage advice that to keep the creative juices flowing, they should write something, anything, every day. Artists should sketch. Nothing epic or earth shattering, just a few bits jotted down is enough to keep the synapses firing. (Sometimes even a grocery list or doodling on a cocktail napkin will suffice.) For a surprising number of photographers, pro as well as amateur, the cameraphone, which emerged on the scene nine years ago with the Sharp J-SH04 (Apple’s iPhone appeared more recently, in 2007), has become the equivalent of a daily journal.

Photographer Chase Jarvis claims he even feels more inspired in his professional work since he started shooting with his iPhone. Self-proclaimed amateur Greg Schmigel, whose website has brought him notoriety for his street (he prefers “life”) photography, some days might shoot a handful of cameraphone images, other days hundreds. “It’s addictive,” says New York photographer Sion Fullana, who has logged many miles and thousands of images on city streets, likening his iPhone skills to “a muscle that builds.” One commonality among all serious cameraphone shooters, and perhaps a large part of the addiction: At the end of the day, they are amazed by the images they get.

This is why cameraphone photography has become more than just a visual notebook, a journalistic record of events or a way to send friends photos of your dog. While most photographers will claim that they simply fell into shooting with their cell phones, saying, “What the heck, I’ve always got my phone with me,” it has rapidly evolved into a legitimate tool for artistic expression and has even shown up in commercial outlets, such as Robert Clark’s commissioned book Image America, shot entirely with his cameraphone. Fullana landed a cover gig from Time Out New York for his urban iPhone images.

Jarvis has just released his own book, titled with his mantra The Best Camera Is the One That’s With You (Peachpit), which blurs the lines between high and low art. In it, photos of seagulls and stained glass carry equal weight with a Muppet head and bacon frying. This illustrates something Jarvis revels in with his cameraphone — “the wanton freedom of creativity to just snap something.” San Francisco photographer Lisa Wiseman also finds the lack of pressure to take a “perfect” photo “a beautiful thing,” and she points out that while she might not consider a crack in a wall a worthy subject for a D-SLR, she’ll shoot it with her iPhone. Without the iPhone, it’s a moment missed and a lost chance to explore a different side of her creativity.

Photographers And Their iPhones – Digital Photo Tips and More on

This is a copy of a letter sent by the Association of Chief Police Officers to Chief Constables and Commissioners across England and Wales on Saturday:

4 December 2009

To: all Chief Constables and Commissioners

Dear Colleague

Section 44 Terrorism Act and Photography

Adverse media coverage of the police service use of Section 44 powers, when dealing with issues relating to photography, have recently hit the headlines again and suggests that officers continue to misuse the legislation that is available to them. The evidence also suggests that there is confusion over the recording requirements of ‘Stop and Account’ and the actual police powers of ‘Stop and Search’. The purpose of this letter is to clarify the legislation and guidance in relation to these matters.

Stop and Search
Section 44 gives officers no specific powers in relation to photography and there is no provision in law for the confiscation of equipment or the destruction of images, either digital or on film.

On the rare occasion where an officer suspects that an individual is taking photographs as part of target reconnaissance for terrorist purposes, then they should be treated as a terrorist suspect and dealt with under Section 43 of the Act. This would ensure that the legal power exists to seize equipment and recover images taken. Section 58A Counter Terrorism Act 2008 provides powers to cover instances where photographs are being taken of police officers who are, or who have been, employed at the front line of counter terrorism operations.

These scenarios will be exceptionally rare events and do not cover instances of photography by rail enthusiasts, tourists or the media.

The ACPO/NPIA Practice Advice, published in December 2008, is again included with this letter and specifically covers the issues surrounding photography. The guidance also includes the need for clear briefings on the use of Section 44 and it may be appropriate to include photography issues within those briefings.

Stop and Account
Encounters between police officers and PCSOs and the public range from general conversation through to arrest. Officers need to be absolutely clear that no record needs to be submitted to cover any activity that merely constitutes a conversation.

Only at the point where a member of the public is asked to account for their actions, behaviour, presence in an area or possession of an item, do the provisions of the PACE Act apply and a record for that ‘stop and account’ need to be submitted. Even at that point, such a discussion does not constitute the use of any police power and should not be recorded under the auspices of the Terrorism Act, for example.

Officers should be reminded that it is not an offence for a member of the public or journalist to take photographs of a public building and use of cameras by the public does not ordinarily permit use of stop and search powers.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Trotter OBE QPM
Chief Constable
Head of ACPO Media Advisory Group

Craig Mackey QPM
Stop and Search
Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Business Area

British Journal of Photography – Political divides?

The National Union of Journalists is standing firm behind the creation of its first photographers’ branch, despite internal divisions that have threatened its launch. Olivier Laurent reports IN BJP

……. “Instead, Jeremy Dear, the Union’s general secretary, tells BJP that the four London members of the National Executive Council will ‘try to create the right conditions for setting up the new branch’.

Hoffman now believes that the ‘idea of a branch of hundreds of photographers is gone.’ However, says Wiard, despite its internal problems, ‘the branch is an important development. I will still be part of it, and it can still be made to work’ he tells BJP. ‘It’s important not just for what it will achieve but for what it has already established. In accepting the branch the NUJ has now finally acknowledged that we have a right to organise ourselves within the union as photographers.’ And eventually, he adds, it will lead to the creation of an Industrial Council for photographers.

According to the Union’s deputy general secretary, this could happen soon. ‘There was a motion at last week’s ADM calling for an industrial council for photographers to be established – the tabling body agreed for the motion to be remitted to the NEC for discussion and consideration, so the whole issue of photography becoming an industrial sector will be discussed in the course of the next 18 months.’

In the meantime, says Dear, the ‘NEC remains solidly behind the establishment of the branch.’ The branch’s first meeting is expected for 26 January 2010.” …..