WORLDbytes raises awareness of legal right to film and photograph in public

WORLDbytes’ volunteers making a stand outside hackney Town Hall, photo credit Chris Sharp.

WORLDbytes volunteers making a stand outside hackney Town Hall, photo credit Chris Sharp. - Credit: Archant

Young reporters from online TV news channel WORLDbytes are mounting a campaign against “overzealous jobsworths” who often try to prevent them filming in public.

WORLDbytes, a citizen TV station based in Millfields Road, Lower Clapton, staged a 5k fun run in Victoria Park last weekend to raise funds for its Freedom to Film campaign.

Volunteers making alternative news reports and programmes often find they are often stopped from filming in streets, parks and public squares in Hackney and further afield by over-zealous council workers and security guards.

Although it is not against the law to film or photograph in public spaces, many amateur and professional film-makers and photographers face similar problems, and the group wants to spread awareness that the public has a right to film and photograph in public.

WORLDbytes volunteer Rossa Minogue said: “The officials who stop us don’t know any better, they just assume we are up to no good.

“We have been stopped in public squares like Mandeville on the basis “vulnerable people” live nearby, yet we have been welcomed by local people in the square who want to have their say to camera.

“We have been stopped in Millfields Park on the basis we may be paedophiles.

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“These are just a few examples of what is a persistent problem faced by many film-makers and photographers all over London but Hackney do seem to be highly regulatory in this regard.”

He continued: “It makes it very difficult for us, we plan our shoots weeks in advance, we have some really enthusiastic students who are raring to go but then we arrive at a place where we don’t need permits to shoot and get moved on.”

WORLDbytes director and Clapton resident Ceri Dingle added: “The grounds on which these “jobsworths” attempt to prevent filming are always daft and their reasoning relies on the most conspiratorial of thinking and a regulatory impulse.”

A council spokesman said it is not council policy to stop people filming on public land, but permission is required for filming on council-owned land, which includes the Town Hall square.

She added: “Filming and photography can be intrusive and disruptive and is a particularly sensitive issue near young people, vulnerable adults or family events such as weddings.

“Hackney is an increasingly popular destination with film crews of all sizes and the council’s priority is to ensure that residents and businesses can go about their day-to-day lives without disruption.”