Former Daily Mirror Editor turned academic Roy Greenslade wrote a column for the London Evening Standard yesterday entitled “Editors must curbs excesses of stalkerazzi” and a lot of it made a lot of sense:
- He agreed that the majority of press photographers do behave ethically all of the time
- He said that “we have to rely on editors to stick to the current code of practice, which prohibits photographic harassment. Given that it hasn’t worked thus far, perhaps we need to create a new clause to deal specifically with the blight of the stalking snappers”
- He concluded that “editors have to take responsibility for researching the provenance of the pictures they publish. They provide the market and they need to buy from accredited sources or, at least, make sure the photograph was obtained without needless intrusion and bad behaviour”
- He has introduced the term “stalkerazzi” into the debate
We aren’t looking to excuse the behaviour of those with cameras who behave badly. We are looking to bring a bit of balance to the Leveson Inquiry, to point out where we think the issues are and to bring hundreds of years of collective experience into the equation when a plan of action is made.
The trouble is that, despite being a Professor of Journalism, he has allowed himself to muddy the waters with personal anecdotes – one from Los Angeles where the stalkerazzi problem makes London look like a Gentlemens’ club and another from back when Princess Diana was the principal target for the paparazzi. The BPPA has spoken to photographers who ran with the ‘Diana Pack’ and none of them remember the abuse and provocation that the Professor mentions.
It’s a shame that his list of anecdotes didn’t include being a guest at a dinner held by The BPPA in 1990 where the association gave him a platform to launch the Ian Parry Scholarship – a fund in memory of a brave young press photographer who lost his life doing what press photographers do best; a fund that The BPPA still supports to this day and a charity whose name is written into the association’s constitution.
We don’t want to get into any more of a point by point discussion of Roy Greenslade’s article because that would be missing the point.
There is a problem, several celebrity and industry witnesses have given their point of view and it’s time that the inquiry heard from a profession that has been blamed for the actions of a tiny number of people, most of whom are not either British or professionals.