Author: phnater

Protestor Extremist Database Win Reignites Journalists Legal Action

Campaign group I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist (PHNAT) welcomes the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling on the case of a peace campaigner to have his details removed from a police Domestic Extremist database.

94-year-old John Catt, who took part in a number of protests but had no criminal convictions, argued the retention of his details on the police database was unlawful. After a case spanning eight years the EHCR has ruled in favour of Catt, stating he, “had never been convicted of any offence and his risk of violent criminality was remote”.

“I now expect police forces nationally to respect this ruling, destroy any data they hold on me, on other peaceful protestors and also journalists who are on the database and ensure they focus their resources more wisely in future.”

The ruling has a direct impact on the 2014 legal action launched by six journalists against Scotland Yard after discovering they too were on the Domestic Extremist database and details of their professional activities dating back more than a decade were being retained.

As far back as 2007 some photographers and videographers raised concerns that the police Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT Squads) were paying particular interest in them. Initial concerns were dismissed as nothing more than intimidation, should be ignored and the idea of surveillance being retained was ridiculous. That response was reiterated by Met commander Bob Broadhurst at a 2009 NUJ Photographer’s Summit.

A year later, after a 21 stop and searches and stop and accounts in one year of video journalist Jason N. Parkinson and an expose´ on police surveillance of the press at the 2008 Kingsnorth Climate Camp by the Guardian newspaper, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) launched and investigation into police surveillance and over the next two years funded two short documentaries, Collateral Damage and Hostile Reconnaissance. It also led to the formation of PHNAT photographers rights campaign group in August 2009.

It was not until undercover police officer Mark Kennedy was exposed in 2011 and the the domestic extremist database was discovered that Subject Access Requests were sought on information held.

By the summer of 2014 six journalists, Adrian Arbib, David Hoffman, Jason N. Parkinson, Jess Hurd, Jules Mattsson and journalist and comedian Mark Thomas held hard evidence that surveillance data on them was being held on the on the domestic extremist database, files that were as long as 12 pages, dated back more than a decade and documented such things as events attended, assumed political beliefs, sexual orientation, criminal record checks on a partner and even a family member’s medical records. The NUJ instructed Bhatt Murphy solicitors and a legal action was launched in November 2014.

Shamik Dutta, Catt’s lawyer and also the lawyer for the NUJ case said: “This ruling sets an important precedent that it is unlawful for governments across Europe to label citizens engaged in peaceful protest domestic extremists and put them on a searchable database for a potentially indefinite period.”

In light of today’s ECHR ruling Dutta said they would be writing to the police to clarify exactly what was held on the six journalists, why it was being held and when would it be deleted.

The third in the Press Freedom trilogy, the feature length film Domestic Extremist, is currently in production and due for release in 2019/2020.


Westfield Security Concerns

Footage © Yannis Mendez

Here @PHNAT we are outraged yet again by the intimidating behaviour of private security at the Stratford Westfield shopping centre.

While covering a vigil for a recent acid attack in East London on Wednesday 5 July, Yannis Mendez, a Freelance Video Journalist and member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) found himself surrounded by security officers as he filmed from the front steps leading up to the shopping centre (see above video). (more…)

First it was Terrorism, Now it’s Supercars

Bystanders using phones to photograph Supercars on Regent Street. Photo © Pete Maclaine.

Photography has been a hobby or a job for someone since 1827. Now the photographer is not only viewed as suspicious but encouraging perceived anti-social behaviour.

This time the apparent anti-social behavior takes the form of car enthusiasts who like to show off their ‘Supercars’ in and around London, with Knightsbridge being a major attraction. (more…)

J20 Six: Drop The Charges


Six journalists face 10 years in prison in America, for covering the unrest during the Disrupt J20 protests against the inauguration of President Trump on Friday 20 January in Washington DC.

I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist (PHNAT) campaign group is outraged by this direct attack on press freedom and calls on President Trump to immediately drop the charges against the #J20six. (more…)

Security call filmmaker ‘lunatic’ for defying nonsense photo ban

The ‘I’m a Photographer not a Terrorist’ (PHNAT) campaign is alarmed by footage of a filmmaker being insulted, threatened with arrest and having his gear manhandled – all for filming a sign.

24-year-old media graduate Alan Noble was shooting a time lapse for a personal project promoting the North East, when Port of Tyne security told him to stop filming from a public highway. Security then asked him if he was a “lunatic” when he declined to comply before calling the police and continuing to insult him and state that he would be arrested.

Guards also grabbed his tripod and demanded to see the contents of his camera – before refusing to let go and telling him he could not leave. The video, and the harmless shot Alan was trying to get, can be viewed here:


What’s going on? Network Rail demand Alamy photo removal

The Sunday Times:

A usage of one picture in question, first shot to cover the ‘pasty tax’ but used editorially since via Alamy. © Pete Maclaine.

This morning a number of photographers who contribute to the picture library Alamy were informed that various images they shot in and around UK train and even tube stations were to be removed from their library following complaints from Network Rail.


The I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist campaign is deeply worried by this and has been in contact with both Network Rail and Alamy to raise concerns. PHNAT has seen examples ranging from recent news images to a station crowd shot from 1972 – with emails to photographers saying they were “violating their exclusive intellectual property rights.”