Royal Parks News Permits To Be Reissued After Industry Outcry
News permits required for news photography in the Royal Parks are to be reissued after a joint letter coordinated by the News Media Association expressing alarm over restrictions to photography at the back of Downing Street.
A coalition of organisations representing professional photographers and journalists wrote to the Royal Parks to voice concerns about a clause in the news permits which prevents filming and photography at the back of Number 10 Downing Street from Horse Guards Road or Horse Guards Parade.
The organisations said: “This clause, which has recently been further tightened through updated wording, unnecessarily restricts the legitimate activities of photographers seeking to report in the public interest on hugely significant events happening right at the seat of power in this country.
“We believe this amounts to an unacceptable attack on press freedom.
“In our society, it cannot be right for photographers and journalists, who act as the eyes and ears of the public, to be prevented from taking photographs in a location of such democratic significance, while members of the public are free to do so.”
In a statement today, the Royal Parks said in response: “The TRP news permit arrangements are longstanding and are there to ensure that there is a balance between visitor enjoyment of the parks, safe movement of people and legitimate journalistic endeavour. The previous news permit conditions stated that there can be no ‘filming/photography at the rear entrance to Downing Street on Horse Guards Road.’
“There has long been confusion about Horse Guards Parade, given the news permit was silent on this point. The revision sought to clarify that this area was also included in the prohibition. However, given the approaches we have received from journalists concerned that it would impact on their news gathering, we are re-issuing the permits to remove the restriction on using Horse Guards Parade and reverting to the wording in the previous news permits. The longstanding restriction on filming from Horse Guards Road remains unchanged.
“Everyone using the Royal Parks is subject to Park Regulations”
The signatories of the joint letter are:
- Owen Meredith, NMA chief executive;
- Dominic Cooper, Chartered Institute of Journalists chief executive;
- Matthew Myatt, British Association of Journalists general secretary;
- Deborah Bonetti, director, The Foreign Press Association in London;
- Paul Ellis, chair, The British Press Photographers’ Association.