Sarah Booker

01/01/2015

Drone photographer Eddie Mitchell right to stand his ground

Filed under: journalism,Law — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 2:08 pm
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Photographer Eddie Mitchell made news headlines after being arrested for breach of the peace while filming a fire for the BBC.

His arrest by Surrey Police is mind boggling as it goes against ACPO guidelines.

Apparently people in the area had complained about him flying his drone over a mobile home fire, but this may not be true.

Press coverage of tragedies may annoy people but it is not against the law.

Some online commenters have said he should have stopped when asked, but journalists will not leave incidents when they know they are doing nothing wrong or illegal, just reporting what is happening.

Police guidelines are to assist the press but some officers are overzealous and unfamiliar with good practice.

There are also comments from people saying he should not have filmed the burning mobile home as it was in bad taste.

This is what journalists do, show what is happening both good and bad.

Undoubtedly the same complainers would moan if there weren’t any pictures as people always want to see and read more bad news even if they say otherwise.

Police officers need reminding they should not obstruct journalists and photographers going about their business.

These situations happen too often.

Eddie is well-known across Sussex and beyond to journalists and professionals in the emergency services as an excellent photographer.

He is often the first journalist at the scene of fires and accidents, day or night.

Now his big selling point is his skill as a camera drone pilot.

His photographs and video of the Eastbourne Pier fire captured the tragedy better than any land-based snapper.

Early in 2014 he promoted his business with a series of images over Brighton.

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04/07/2014

Bravo to Oxford Mail tackling “right to be forgotten” ruling

I admire Oxford Mail editor Simon O’Neill’s stand against Google removing a story about a theft.

By writing about the move he keeps the story alive.

It is a prime example of the Streisand effect. You want it to go away but the noise gets louder.

During my eight years as a web editor with the Worthing Herald series and The Argus I lost count of the number of times people asked me to remove stories about convictions.

Invariably news stories came up on search engines causing problems for the individual.

Usually the person had kept quiet about the conviction and ended up losing a job, occasionally it caused problems with their family and friends.

This was always the newspapers’ fault for publishing, not theirs for committing a crime.

When the European Court of Justice ruled Google (PDF) should remove articles from search engines at user request I wondered what publishers would do to counteract it.

The message to people who want to hide their misdeeds is to be honest with the people you know.

Admit to your crime, however minor, and get on with what life throws at you.

Better still, keep within the law.

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