British media pressured to inform on rioters

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 10:02 EDT
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British officials are pressuring media organizations like The Guardian, the BBC, the Times, ITN and Sky News to give police all their footage of the recent spates of rioting so authorities can comb it for suspects.

Media organizations said this week they’re resisting informal requests for footage from the London Metro police, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester police and Scotland Yard, in an effort to avoid being seen as the state’s informers.

The requests followed Prime Minister David Cameron’s insistence earlier this month that members of the press have a “responsibility” to help the state punish alleged rioters.

British law requires a court order before authorities can seize unpublished media. Scotland Yard said it was prepared to acquire those orders if members of the press were not forthcoming.

Police are already combing about 30,000 hours of CCTV video showing rioters, according to The Guardian.

Authorities have also been making use of photos published online, applying facial recognition software to social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to help pinpoint rioters.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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