The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's radio show As it Happens did a great
job covering the new British law that makes it a crime to take a picture of a police officer or a building, where that picture might be useful in "planning an act of terrorism." First, they interviewed Peter Murray, Vice-President of the National Union of Journalists, who, predictably, worries that his members will find themselves with arrest-records as terrorists for violating the law.
But then, they talked to Peter Smyth, Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, who also thinks the law is ridiculous -- and this is just stupendous. Smyth says that there's no evidence that terrorists use photographs to plan attacks, admits that this is an invitation for scared officers to abuse the law, and says that it will needlessly create conflict with journalists and the public.
The program tried to locate someone -- anyone -- who supported the law, but no one was forthcoming.
FEB 16, 2009 - As It Happens
My photos from the National Union of Journalists demonstration at New Scotland Yard
The CBC asked me to write an editorial for their package about Canadian identity and politics, timed with the 150th anniversary of the founding of the settler state on indigenous lands. They’ve assigned several writers to expand on themes in the Canadian national anthem, and my line was “We stand on guard for thee.”
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