England is about to make it illegal to take photographs of police officers in a continuing trend limiting the free press and free speech in the West. This ill-conceived law, The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, will take effect on February 16th and “allows for the arrest and imprisonment of anyone who takes pictures of officers ‘likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.” For this crime, you can get up to ten years and a fine.
Journalists in England have been facing rising limitations on their ability to photograph police operations. On such controversy involves film-maker Darren Pollard who was cleaning his front garden after a flood when he noticed the police harassing a youth opposite his house. After a police officer spotted him filming the alleged abuse, they told him that it was illegal to film police.
Likewise, an English citizen was arrested for filming an officer engaged in a dangerous traffic violation, as discussed in this earlier entry.
From the Rodney King beating to recent New York protest abuse videos and recent BART shooting, we have seen how citizen videos have proven a critical element in proving police abuse. England is now set to deter this growing and positive trend.
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