London: Muslim TV producer accuses police of harassment

A Muslim TV producer has accused the police of constantly targeting her crew and stopping them from filming in the streets of London. The crew from an international Muslim network, which included three hijab wearing members, were filming in Notting Hill, west London, in March when they said they were stopped and quizzed. Producer Anousheh Demartino, who was stopped on three previous occasions, told The Muslim News, "They asked us for our ID and why we were filming. After we told them we were allowed to continue. 20 minutes later we were stopped again. This time we were asked for our residential address; they only asked me, the two other hijab wearing women and not [our] young cameraman.

"I protested at first and asked why they needed my home address when it was a professional not a personal matter, but he insisted and, not wanting to prolong the incident, I gave him the details." Anousheh says she was given no legal reasons as to why they were stopped filming; however, she did say the officer made a reference to terrorist activity: "The officer, he said we need permission to film and made an example of the camera being used for terrorist activity. So he was saying he stopped us because of the size of the camera, because we were using a tripod…ultimately they are judging who is and is not a terrorist by the size of the camera."

Speaking of her "frustrating" experience as a Muslim journalist she said, "I was stopped before with another crew and given report slips once on High Street Kensington in February and once on Victoria Road. We have to carry those slips with us all the time. I don't know why we constantly get stopped, is it because we are not a large mainstream media [outlet], or is it because I wear the hijab?"

In a statement to The Muslim News a spokesperson for the Metropolitan police said, "There are some sensitive locations in London where it would not be unusual for those filming or taking photographs to be stopped and spoken to by police. If you have a UK Press Card, which has a number of security measures and is recognised by the Association of Chief Police Officers, you should not experience problems. It is also not unusual for reporters to be asked for their home address."

The incident came a month before a Muslim BBC journalist was held to the ground by police officers after his radio equipment was mistaken for an explosive device.

The two episodes also came shortly before Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Peter Smyth, said officers are not sufficiently trained in how to correctly apply anti-terror legislation when dealing with photographers.

In an interview with 's PM programme on April 26, he addressed the increasing concerns that photographers are being unfairly stopped and questioned by police when taking photos in public places. Asked what innocent photographers should say to the officer if they are stopped, Smyth said, "If the officer has serious concerns that the photographs…are of some sort of terrorist nature then I think [the officer] should be asked to explain what sort of terrorist nature he thinks they are about and, if in any doubt, to call a supervisor."

Source: The Muslim News (English), h/t Islamophobia Watch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe this producer remembers something that happened not too long ago that involved muslims trying and succeeding at killing infidels. When some group is trying to kill you, then you have a tendency to keep an eye on them. Nobody in the muslim community is pointing these killers out (for some reason) so the authorities need to be vigilant. That shouldn't be too hard to understand.