BPPA hits back at Leveson Inquiry criticism

British Press Photographers' Association

The British Press Photographers' Association (BPPA) today wrote to the Leveson Inquiry to ask to be included on the list of those giving evidence. The request is a reaction to what the BPPA calls a 'one-way traffic' of criticism from witnesses, which brands the entire profession as 'the worst kind of citizen paparazzi'.

In the initial submission to the Leveson Inquiry, the BPPA states: "In reading the list of persons and organisations that may be considered as Core Participants, the association believes that the weight of commentary during the opening weeks of the Inquiry makes press photographers “subject to explicit or significant criticism during the inquiry proceedings or in its report.” In the light of this, we would contend that The BPPA is able to give evidence on the issues of culture, practices and ethics, which the Inquiry might not otherwise be able to obtain."

The statement continues: "The BPPA can speak for press photographers who, because of the highly fragmented nature of our employment may well speak to the BPPA when they would not speak to the Inquiry."

The BPPA offers to give evidence on:

• The culture and practices of professional press photographers
• The market place for news pictures and how it affects those cultures and practices
• The problems that the market for celebrity images is causing
• The dangers of introducing French style privacy laws
• The need for cooperation between all parts of the media to establish clear and enforceable ethical guidelines and codes of behaviour and etiquette.

The BPPA has drafted a list of yet undisclosed proposals to 'help control the problems of unethical photographers and citizen journalists with cameras'.

The BPPA states: "Press photographers led the way when it came to establishing the guidelines by which all UK Police forces (via ACPO) work alongside the media in the field and we would endeavour to bring a similar problem solving approach to the Inquiry."

David White, photo journalist and World press award winner, said: "I would argue that the criticism of the press has been one sided because the enquiry is only talking about one side of the press, and it's not the side I know and love.

 "In many ways I find it absurd that as a nation we panic about photographers in public places, yet we are the most watched in the world via cctv. French style laws are overkill, and I think we strike a fair balance."

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