my surprise upon reading that the Prime Minister of the
United Kingdom, is proposing restrictions on all photography
in public spaces. http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Photography/
I had already written about such paranoia, some
years ago in 2001, while visiting London, angry teachers
shouted at me as I took pictures of a teen age school outing
in front of the Tate Gallery. You might want to read what
I wrote at that moment in editorial
no.32 (day 9), and how the direction of present policies
are nothing but a continuation of those same attitudes that
were left basically unchallenged at the time.
Then more recently I stumbled upon another very disturbing
event, this one in Egypt as reported by "Wired News",
where an Egyptian blogger got 4 years in prison. Abdel Kareem
Nabil, a 22-year-old former student at Egypt's Al-Azhar
University, had been a vocal secularist and sharp critic
of conservative Muslims in his blog. He often lashed out
at Al-Azhar - the most prominent religious center in Sunni
Islam - calling it "the university of terrorism"
and accusing it of encouraging extremism.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based media
rights group, said Internet writers and editors are the
fastest growing segment of imprisoned journalists, with
49 behind bars as of December 2006.
As I write this, I get news from Apple,
about the Washingtonpost.com using all sort of interactive
technologies (still pictures, video, sound, animation) to
tell newsworthy stories.
The convergence of all these events as described above,
tell me something we need to be quite concerned about. As
we move forward with all these new tools to explore story
telling in the digital age, societies in most parts of the
world are moving to severely restrict their use. I am sure
there is a direct correlation, as this ease of use has proven
to empower the average citizen to express their own points
of view, which of course escapes the traditional means of
control by those in power.
The process of democratizing information, has provoked a
strong backlash restricting the use of all our new found
digital tools, photography among them. After the AbuGraib
disaster in Iraq, the US military implemented new censorship
rules, forbidding the use of digital cameras by soldiers.
Please let us know of any restrictions that you have encountered,
so that we can start building a data base with such information.
This will allow for a wider awareness that we need not just
put up a wooden face in turbulent times. I am sure there
are actions that can be taken such as the petition that
is being signed in the UK, to stop the insanity of not allowing
pictures to be taken on the street.
always please joins us with your comments in our