Just a reminder for you Londoners: the National Union of Journalists and the British Journal of Photographers are having a photo-in today at Scotland Yard, a demonstration against the outrageous new law that can put you in jail for ten years for taking a photo of a police officer "a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism"
We'll be gathering at Scotland Yard today at 11AM, cameras in hand, to make the point: Nineteen Eighty-Four was not a manual for statecraft.
Tomorrow, [Ed: today] Monday 16 February 2009, the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 will come into force, potentially making it a crime to take a picture of members of Her Majesty's armed forces, including constables.
The Act amends the Terrorism Act 2000 regarding offences relating to information about members of armed forces, a member of the intelligence services, or a police officer. The new set of rules, under section 76 of the 2008 Act and section 58A of the 2000 Act, will target anyone who 'elicits or attempts to elicit information about (members of armed forces) … which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism'.
The penalty could be of up to 10 years in prison. While BJP does not believe the Act will result in the imprisonment of photographers and photojournalists, we believe the Act could be abused by some police officers who are already loosely using Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to prevent photographers from taking pictures in public places.
So, we have joined the National Union of Journalists' call for photographers to make their voices heard at a media event on 16 February in front of New Scotland Yard. The plan is simple, turn up with your camera and exercise your democratic right to take a photograph in a public place.
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