Photographers fuelled protest?

The BBC on how a small group of professional photographers stage managed their photography at a recent protest outside the Danish Embassy in London. The protest dispersed peaceably when the media and protesters were separated!

  • harry flashman

    Well a bbc report based on a Metropolitan police document straight away has some serious credibility issues given both organisations’ tendency to put as favourabe a spin as possible on the activities of Islamist extremists in the UK. As soon as the 7/7 bombs went off in the tubes, deputy assistant commander Alan Paddick – the highest ranking gay anarchist rozzer in the kingdom – was assuring us that the terrorists were not Muslims as everyone knew that Islam and terrorism were incompatible, everyone except the bombers themselves perhaps.

    On the occasion of the demo referred to above a convicted criminal dressed as a suicide bomber posed for photos standing at the police lines. He was not arrested at the time as the polce did not want to inflame the situation, which begs the question, how did they know he was a fake? I’m sure the family of Juan Charles De Menendez, the poor Brazilian bloke who got his head blown off by the Met’s finest would be intrigued to know the answer to that.

    The kid glove treatment of the demonstrators who were calling for mass murder contrasts sharply with the pro-fox hunt demonstrators who received a right good thrashing from the police when they demonstrated outside parliament last year. It would seem that sensitivity in handling demonstrators does not apply to every section of the community. Incidentally two arrests were made outside the Danish embassy that day – of Londoners who had the audacity to wave Danish flags at the Muslims, can’t have that now can we?

    Anyway I’m not sure I get Mick’s point about this and I think he is wrong to state that the photographers “stage managed” the event. Is he suggesting that the photographers gave the demonstrators the bloodcurdling signs? Is the idea that the demonstrators were forced to act like extremists by the photographers? No of course not, the demonstrators were adults, they were free agents and they deliberately chose to act as they did, you cannot blame the press if they in the course of doing their job encourage the subjects to ham it up a bit, it happens all the time.

    Many times I have seen demonstrations where maybe two dozen marchers straggle along with half hearted chants, which have later been seen that night on telly as vast, mass protests. The ploy is a very simple one, the camera man lies on the ground and films up at the front rank thus giving the impression of a surging mass. Other times the chief spokesman is interviewed surrounded by seven or eight chanting supporters waving placards for the cameras again giving the impression of a seething crowd, despite the fact that all around is a sea of mass indifference. The funny thing is that these instances almost always favour “anti-establishment” demos, they being the ones who like to protest the most, and the media is often complicit in giving the impression that society is filled with angry radicals who are storming the street to overthrow the old order whilst in fact the overwhelming majority of people are basically content with the status quo.

    This is what appears to have happened in this case. The pressmen with a small group of demonstrators and a pressing deadline for good pictures for that evening’s news reverted to type and got some great pictures. The fact that it backfired because the demonstrators made complete eejits of themselves can hardly be blamed on the press. Blaming the media was always the fallback position of the conservative right, it ill behoves progressives to complain now that their previously well loved tactics cock up.

  • can anyone link or post a copy of the photo taken at the protests of the 20th (?) anniversary of the intro of internment…theres a well known photo of a teen girl with her flaggon of cider screaming at a Brit soldier. He’s on duty kneeling in a sniper type position.
    Later there’s a background photo taken showing the photo was staged as there are about a dozen professional photographers around her possibly encouraging her.

    most photograpers seem to be the lowest form of new print media (ie. the lowest of the low)

  • Harry Flashman

    Are you suggesting by saying it was ‘staged’ that the girl wasn’t drunk, that she didn’t hurl abuse at the squaddie and that in fact she was an actress who was handed the cider bottle as a prop? Or is your problem that the situation was as happened but that you are angry because there were so many photographers? You can’t always blame the media you know.