Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Watching me, watching you, watching them...

Police surveillance of journalists who cover protests remains a live issue and on Monday I met with lawyers who are looking at ways we can challenge the harassment of individual members by the Forward Intelligence Team. I watched video footage of these police officers deliberately filming photographers, then scribbling in their notebooks whilst also reading comments from their colleagues denying they ever deliberately took such pictures.

Someone's being economical with the truth. One of the police officers is even heard to say they believe the photographers have 'ulterior motives'. Their motive is documenting the clampdown protest and the erosion of civil liberties - it's their job. You'll be hearing a lot more about this issue in the coming weeks. I have also written my Tribune column this month on the topic.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 02.05.08. Metropolitan Police Forward
Intelligence Team (FIT) members take notes and a civilian police
photographer films and photographs journalists before an anarchist
protest outside City Hall on Friday 2 May 2008 in London, England.
(Photo by Marc Vallée/marcvallee.co.uk) (c) Marc Vallée, 2008.

The Tribune column was one of many jobs I did over the weekend - writing reports for the NEC on pension funding, reading the TUC Congress reps award nominations (which I'm judging today), putting together reports on enhancing our Parliamentary work, finishing the 2008/9 budget, writing our motions for TUC Conference - it was all glamour this weekend.

Yesterday I also met with TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O'Grady and issued a statement on the latest situation at the Telegraph.

1 comment:

Paul Lashmar said...

This issue is getting a lot of attention but already I have heard accusations of double standards in photographers saying they shouldn't be photographed. Its not about being photographed because as Tony Mcnulty has made clear in letters on this issue there is no right to privacy in a public place.
What we need to get out and make clear is the level of verbal a physical harrasment against press photographers who are doing nothing more than earning a living. let them photograph us - I expect some of us pay more tax each year than they (the police) earn in Salary. We need to make clear we will not accept being singled out, having hands put across the lens. The NUJ need to make clear that bullying by police officers of photographers will not be tolerated. perhaps we should remind her that policing in the Uk is by Public consent and that there is no law enforcment remit. They certainly have no right to enforce moral standards on what can or can't be photographed.

Be careful what you discuss and don't make us look like stupid whining babies who don't like be snapped.