Police

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.

We call on all PHNAT supporters and all those who defend press freedom to join in the National Union of Journalists campaign and send a Tweet to President Donald Trump.

Suggested Tweet:

.@realDonaldTrump @POTUS. Drop The Charges Against The #J20six Journalists. Journalism Is Not A Crime. #PressFreedom http://wp.me/p5htzI-6E

Journalists Evan Engel and Alex Rubenstein, documentary producer Jack Keller, photojournalist Shay Horse, Aaron Cantú and independent live-streaming journalist Matt Hopard, were all charged under the most serious level of offence under rioting in Washington DC. They face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $25,000 (£19,800).

On the day many members of the press were targeted by police using stock grenades and CS spray. An eyewitness saw one photographer shot in the neck with a rubber bullet.

When journalists are assaulted, arrested and face incarceration, just for doing their jobs, the press freedom is under threat. Press freedom plays a fundamental role in any democracy and must be defended.

Journalism is not a crime. Photographers are not Terrorists. Drop the charges now.

Police Scotland Want to Seize Your Phone

London, UK. 14 November, 2015. Metropolitan Police Officers stand guard as thousands gather in Trafalgar Square for a candlelit vigil in solidarity with the victims of last night's terrorists attacks in Paris.

Metropolitan Police at Paris Attack Candlelit Vigil. London. © Pete Maclaine.

I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist (PHNAT) is seriously concerned by reports that Police Scotland intends to “seize phones if officers are filmed whilst on duty”, according to the Daily Record.

PHNAT is worried by the apparent conflation of the lawful act of recording police officers with an unrelated offence of obstruction, which can be committed whether using a cameraphone or not. (more…)

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…)

Don’t Shoot, I’m A Photographer Not a Terrorist!

Image © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk

Image © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk

PHNAT are disturbed by the Metropolitan Police’s reaction to a press release from Jason Knauf, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Communications Secretary.

Kensington Palace has focused on the alleged harassment and surveillance of Prince George and Princess Charlotte by ‘paparazzi photographers,’ a sweeping generalisation of photographers often used by the Royals. (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