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UK minister aims to reassure photographers

By dpreview staff on Mar 10, 2010 at 11:21 GMT

The UK Policing and Crime Minister has reasserted that anti-terrorism should not be used to stop photographers and photojournalists. In a meeting with a Parliamentary photography group and journalists, David Hanson MP said the Sections 44 and 58A of the 2000 Terrorist Act should not be 'used to stop ordinary people taking photos or to curtail legitimate journalistic activity'. He also said guidance to that effect has been provided to the UK police forces, advising that these powers should not be used to stop innocent members of the public, tourists and journalists.

Press statement

Policing and Crime Minister David Hanson MP said:

"I recently met with Austin Mitchell MP, members of the Parliamentary All Party Photography Group and representatives of the photographic press and the Royal Photographic Society to discuss the issue of counter terrorism powers and offences in relation to photography.

"I welcomed the opportunity to reassure all those concerned with this issue that we have no intention of Section 44 or Section 58A being used to stop ordinary people taking photos or to curtail legitimate journalistic activity.

"Guidance has been provided to all police forces advising that these powers and offences should not be used to stop innocent member of the public, tourists or responsible journalists from taking photographs.

"These powers and offences are intended to help protect the public and those on the front line of our counter terrorism operations from terrorist attack. For the 58A offence to be committed, the information is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

"I have committed to writing to Austin Mitchell MP to reinforce this message and to follow-up on the representations made to me at today's meeting.”

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