I'm A Reporter, Not A Terrorist

By BethPH Last edited 73 months ago
I'm A Reporter, Not A Terrorist

The Guardian is the latest media organisation to fall foul of security guards patrolling private spaces. A journalist for the paper was prevented from filming, then from leaving a public space outside the O2 dome, an Olympic venue.

With the increasing number of privately owned spaces used by the public in the capital, photographers and journalists are regularly accosted by civilian security guards with little or no understanding of the law concerned, or the Anti-Terror Act which they regularly invoke to try and obstruct the public. In the case of the Guardian, the newspaper was told; "We've requested you to not do it because we don't like it," before demanding the footage on the basis that: "It's under the terrorist law. We are an Olympic venue".

Londonist's very own N Quentin Woolf was similarly approached while recording an episode of Londonist Out Loud. Last summer, Shoot Experience made a short film about what happened when their photographers tried to take pictures in the City with astonishing results. Campaign group I'm a Photographer, Not A Terrorist also recently highlighted an incident where a a filmmaker was approached by a GLA employee who insisted they stop filming.

Just to provide some clearly much-needed clarity around public/private spaces, British Security Industry Association guidelines state that "filming or taking a photograph does not in itself indicate hostile reconnaissance or other suspicious behaviour:

"If an individual is in a public place photographing or filming a private building, security guards have no right to prevent the individual from taking photographs."

Photo by pixel.eight in the Londonist Flickr pool.

Last Updated 18 April 2012

Mr Vee

Would very much like to see something from the mayor's about this issue.


If it's a privately owned space used by the public then the owners (or their agents) can stop you from taking photographs though, right?  Inside a gallery would be one example of this but surely it would apply to a privately owned square or something too?


The wonderful irony about this is of course that in reality citizen photography actually makes us safer as a community rather than posing a risk. Consider, for example a terrorist incident, or serious crime - what's the first thing police do (or should do)? Appeal for anyone with images of the incident to come forward! The police, and local 'security' ought to realise that having an informal 'army' of several hundred thousand eyes enhances security rather than diminishing it.
There is of course, a single photograph which says this more eloquently than I can manage, you can find it here: http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/...


I agree with Chris above.

Dave H

 IIRC, none of the obvious employment discrimination laws would cover this. It's illegal to discriminate on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality or age, but I don't think there's any law covering the type of discrimination that you mention. So it probably *is* legal (although it is also rather stupid, and possibly counter-productive to the needs of the company).