NUJ concern over Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors motion
10 April 2017
The NUJ has expressed concern at a motion to be debated this week by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) which calls for the photographing or filming of Gardaí on duty to be made a criminal offence.
The motion has caused widespread concern among journalists and civil liberties groups.
Séamus Dooley, NUJ acting general secretary, has written to his AGSI counterpart John Jacob and the letter said the proposal from the Dublin metropolitan region west division "could have grave implications for the right to freedom of expression." He added:
"It is disturbing that any section would contemplate banning the taking of photographs or recording of public events or assemblies. The motion, as I understand it, could also criminalise the taking of photographs of state occasions and the photographing of public buildings such as Leinster House, for example. It is in all likelihood incapable of implementation but the ideology behind the proposal raises serious concerns.
"The proposal that photographing members of the force on duty should be made a criminal offence would, in particular, have significant implications for working journalists. Police powers should be exercised in public with maximum transparency. The right to free assembly is a cornerstone of a democracy and is cherished in this country."