Monday, November 28, 2011

Greek protesters in trial by Facebook

Greek protesters who peacefully blocked roads, forcing the country's president to flee a military parade last month have been hauled before judges in the northern port city of Thessaloniki. The district attorney has introduced video and photographic evidence gleaned from Facebook, Youtube and other social media sites to convince judges to press charges against 17 defendants.

If the case goes ahead then I have to seriously re-evaluate where and how I take photographs and video since I do not want to be the reason someone is sent to prison for exercising their right to peaceful protest. In addition the possibility that images posted on social media or news sites is now to be used to prosecute people means that those taking part are going to be loathed to have photographers around, making my job even more difficult.

4 comments:

konstantinos said...

This economic junta is trying to criminalize the participation in protest marches and the Thessaloniki incident is just an excuse...
You're right, from now on taking pictures and videos should be very discrete since it could lead to unfair persecutions and perhaps might be more useful in case of police violence and riots. But how can you set terms on photo reportage without censoring it? Don't know what to say...I am sure that reporters can prevent police excesses and violence sometimes and we definitely need you on the road!

Simon Baddeley said...

This is not just about the rights of those you may photograph, but yours as a citizen journalist. It's an ironic tribute to the credibility of street level (i.e. citizen) journalism that your reporting is now to be accorded evidential value in a court of law.

Ieva said...

I really did not knew that this is gone so far. But maybe it a little bit proves that protests and strikes do not solve anything, but it lead to worse?

Simon Baddeley said...

Don't agree, leva. Painful though it is sometimes what is right (or wrong) must be established before a court. What will the court make of evidence collected in this way? I could imagine a jury being unimpressed.