National Union of Journalists

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).

“Within seconds I was surrounded by five Westfield security guards telling me I couldn’t film there, I was on private property,” Said Mendez.

“One put his hand on my camera and told me not to film him, despite him then filming me on his seriously inferior camcorder.”

He was then described as a “difficult male” by one guard reporting back to his superiors after Mendez turned his camera on himself to show he was surrounded by five security guards.

He continued to argue his case to film, pointing out all the people with mobile phone cameras. Eventually the boss of the security guards intervened, told the guards to stand down and allow Mendez to get his shot from the steps.

A police officer later confirmed the steps and bridge at Westfield were on top of public land. That route is the only public thoroughfare to get from one side of Stratford to the other without having to take a long detour.

In August 2016 former London Mayor Ken Livingstone faced similar trouble when he and an  accompanying Dutch film crew refused to stop filming at the request of Westfield Stratford security officers. The security then called the police, who got more than they bargained for from Livingstone.

“When we gave permission for this to be built [Stratford Westfield], this is a public thoroughfare that allows the people to get from the old Stratford site through to the Olympic Park,” Livingstone said on film.

“We were not told that there would be bars on people, you know, going through or filming or anything else like that. Everybody here, about half of them want a picture of me as a selfie. Is Westfield going to object to that as well?”

The more we see land being taken over by private interest the more we see our basic rights being stripped from those privatised public spaces and thoroughfares. We call upon our new mayor Sadiq Khan; instruct Westfield to honour the original access agreement. The public and press should not have to leave their rights to freely film and photograph at the bottom step of Westfield’s public thoroughfare, or have to face the intimidation and threats from ill-informed security.

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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:

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Sussex Police Apologise for Detaining Journalists

 

Sussex Police have apologised to NUJ members that were stopped and searched on when they were travelling to work in Brighton to cover a far right demonstration on Sunday 21 April 2013.

Seven journalists, two of whom are PHNAT organisers, were subjected to a search for offensive weapons under Section 60AA of the Public Order Act and Section 60 of the Terrorism Act, which Sussex police later claimed was a mistake.

The NUJ challenged the police and argued there had been an unlawful use of the legislation to detain and search journalists. (more…)

#SaveFoP: Save Our Freedom of Panorama

Panorama

Image © Grant Smith

On 9 July 2015 the European Parliament will vote on the “Freedom of Panorama” legislation, a law that if passed will restrict your right to take photographs from a public place of buildings and even views that have been copyrighted. Read more here.

In the the days leading up to the vote photographers rights campaign group I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist (PHNAT) and the London Photographer’s Branch of the National Union of Journalists calls on all photographers, professional and amateur, to go out and photograph your local landscapes and views, then tweet your photos to the European Parliament. (more…)

News From Palestine

London Leaflet revised 2

The NUJ London Independent Broadcasting and New Media Branch and NUJ London Photographers Branch are hosting a talk with Nablus-based photojournalist Abed Qusini, who is visiting the UK this month.

Abed will be discussing the challenges he has faced working as a photojournalist for 17 years in the occupied West Bank and showing an array of his work. (more…)

Nine Journalists Detained by Sussex Police

Press photographers get pulled off the motorway by traffic police and stop and searched for weapons under S60 and S60AA of the Public Order Act, quoted as the Terrorism Act. On route to the March for England, Brighton. © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk Tel: 01789-262151/07831-121483 info@reportdigital.co.uk NUJ recommended terms & conditions apply. Moral rights asserted under Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988. Credit is required. No part of this photo to be stored, reproduced, manipulated or transmitted by any means without permission.

Video: Press stop and searched for weapons. © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk

On Sunday the 21st of April 2013 nine journalists travelling to Brighton to cover ‘March for England,’ a gathering of Britain’s far-right along with members of various racist organisations were stopped and seven of them searched by Sussex Police. Initially they were told the search was being made under the Terrorism Act.

The journalists thought it reasonable when a police car over took them and ordered via a digital screen that they were to follow. They were after all a minibus full of mostly white people heading to an event that would be populated by angry far-right racists. They were guided to a car park and garages in Hickstead a few miles away from Brighton where police were already busy searching members of the far-right.

Being exposed in this was a worry to the press as Casuals United, a group of far-right football hooligans and English Defence League supporters had called for the targeting of Argus journalists on the day of the March. The Argus is a Brighton based newspaper, but it was understood that no journalist was safe from attack.

Due to these threats the journalists were eager to identify themselves as press so that they could leave quickly without unwanted attention being brought on them. The officers were shown press cards but took no notice. Press cards carry the follwing message:

 ‘The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland recognise the holder of this card as a bona fide newsgatherer.

A phone number is provided to a hot line so that verification can be given by the UKPCA in the form of a password that is known only to the UKPCA and the journalist.

The advice given to police officers using Section 60 to stop and search suspects by ACPO, who recognise card holders as bona fide news gatherers, is that ‘Officers may question the person to confirm or eliminate reasonable suspicion for grounds for the search’ (Practice Advice on Stop and Search, ACPO and Centrex, p10, 1.6).

Sussex Police estimated that around 250 members of the far-right and approximately 1000 counter-protesters were in Brighton that day. They drafted in over 700 officers to police the event. It was reported that by the events conclusion at 6pm, 19 arrests had been made. To help make those arrests Sussex Police were authorised to use powers under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. This gives police the power to stop and search those they ‘reasonably’ believe may be carrying weapons and become involved in acts of violence. Not the rescinded Terrorism Act they had quoted as the reason for the search.

Once reasonable suspicion had been eliminated the officers should have discontinuing the search. Instead, when asked why they did not recognise press cards, one officer said that, “the officer in the car [the car that pulled the minibus over)] had started the process, so we are obliged to finish it.’ Yet another said of a BAJ member’s press card, “Anyone can print one of those off, they don’t prove anything.”

Journalists being journalists, they recorded the encounter. One photographer used an iPhone to film the incident and a videographer began filming as soon as they could.

 

On release, they began tweeting and were overwhelmed by the number of retweets and messages of support. There was a high level of disgust at the idea of police using Section 60 to search journalists. The NUJ was quick to speak out and posted a statement online condemning the search. The police themselves took to twitter and apologised for the incident but quickly thought better of admitting fault and deleted the tweet.

But journalists being journalists, a copy of the tweets were taken before they were deleted.

sussex_police_tweet_001