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  1. Unfortunately the pamphlet and blogger doesn’t comment on the “public safety” aspect of journalistic photography.

    Let’s say you are a photographer and while on your way to work you witness the police involved in some kind of standoff with a criminal. You pull over and take out your camera to take some pictures.

    Can you run into the building where the criminal is located and start taking pictures waving your first ammendment rights around? No. You’re creating a public safety issue and the police can prevent you from doing that.

    What about if there is a fire and you start taking pictures from outside of the fenced off area? Are you creating a public safety issue and should you be able to take photos? Sure, seems reasonable, right?

    But what if one of the firefighters, police officers, or public safety personnel that’s there stands in front of you (and just you) because you have a camera? Or what if they ask you not to take pictures (note: there aren’t any injured people or anything – it’s just a burning building)? Are they infringing on your FA rights? Probably. Can you do anything meaningful about it? Probably not.

    I agree that we all have rights that should be respected. But the practical matter is that the public safety volunteer probably doesn’t know anything about the FA or journalist rights (and maybe doesn’t even care). What do you do in those situations? That’s the more difficult question, and I’d love to hear how seasoned professional journlists handle those complex and difficult situations.

  2. I was stopped by a very pleasant Bobbie in a Baker Street Underground station in London. There were Sherlock Holmes tiles lining the walls that I found interesting. But I was told that I needed permission from the station manager to shoot. He politely walked to the office to get permission and the manger grumbled and produced a form for me to fill out, take to the main office and in three or four days from now…….

    Fortunately I happened to stumbled on an even better set of tiles that were formed in the shape of a Holmes profile smoking his pipe.

    I guess this could make me an international fugitive. There are times where it is better to shoot first and ask permission later.

  3. I downloaded the pamphlet. Looks good on paper, but with the way our rights are taken away in the USA every day they are meaningless words. If you’re where a police officer or other goverment agent thinks you shouldn’t be, even if you have the “right” to be there, you will be arrested and your film/flash cards/camera confiscated.

    I got a good laugh from the suggestion to call the local newspaper “and see if they are interested in running a story. Many newspapers feel that civil liberties are worthy of serious coverage…” Now that’s funny.

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