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Policewatch Films

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

That nasty little Section 76

Lot of concerns how this amendment to the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 that came into force Monday will affect photographers in general, and fitwatchers specifically.

Almost certainly at some stage it will do cos the cops have this devious little habit of misusing "Anti-Terrorism" legislation against legitimate protesters, activists and the like.

As my own contribution to all the voices raised in opposition I felt the need, like a lot of other photographers, to post something about it on Monday.
But I inadvertently ended up using a slightly different approach and tried to see it in the context of a broader take on things.

Called the piece "Britain 2009" and for anyone that's interested its currently at www.tiltingatwindmills.org.uk

Here's a taster...

"Ask the ordinary "man in the street" what role he believes the police play in society and likely as not he'll answer something along the lines of "maintaining law and order".

Put to him the notion that this country's well along the path to becoming a police state and likely as not he'll laugh at the suggestion...

Well, obviously we don't move from being a relatively free and unrestricted society into a regime of repressive controls overnight. Its a process of transition, and a gradual one at that.
So where would we be likely to observe this process occurring first? Most likely over the "freedom to express or communicate political or other views".
Why? Because it seems to me that would be the most obvious and necessary first step in the development of a politically repressive regime."


Be warned though, its a bit long!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

For those who think this Act won't be misused...

see here for an example of how the police interpret anti terrorist legislation in Ireland.

http://ireland.indymedia.org/article/90662

fotdmike said...

Given the way the cops like to brand virtually all protesters as "extremists" or "terrorists" (else why invoke powers under "anti-terrorism legislation" when dealing with same?) its practically guaranteed that the Act will be misused. Repeatedly.

Anonymous said...

i suppose the new act only applies to taking pictures of sworn police officers, ie not police staff (like those photographers) or pcsos.

secondly, if the police rely on the same rights as the rest of us to take pictures in public, then any abridgement of the public's right to take pictures must necessarily have a similar effect on the police. if they take a picture of me, how can i be sure it won't be used for arbitrary and respressive policing? on past performance, the very act of them taking pictures of people is in itself designed for harassment. if the police continue to be given carte blanche to take pictures of people both at demonstrations and meetings, and going about their everyday business, without members of the public being permitted (de facto, if not de jure) to take pictures of police photographing them, then this move may prove the greatest boon to fitwatch.

after all, no one likes a bully, and this is certain to place the police in the role of bully in a more immediate way for a great number of people, particularly in a demonstration setting.