Posts Tagged 'TransLink'

Pre-Olympic Fear and Paranoia in Vancouver

Photo by cabbit

It seems Canadian authorities want to get in on the action of harassing photographers.

According to the CBC, an advertising campaign was launched in Vancouver in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics to encourage citizens to be more vigilant about possible terrorism. With the tagline “Report the suspicious, not the strange,” the ads can be seen in TransLink stations throughout the city. The problem is, the campaign is essentially spreading suspicion and fear of cameras. 

As Richard Smith, who is a communications professor at Simon Fraser University, says in the article, “You’re asking people to make judgments about others’ behaviour. What makes something suspicious — is it the clothes I wear, the colour of my skin? How far do we go down that path?” Exactly. Your offbeat architecture photographer could be my fundamental terrorist on a mission.

Encouraging awareness is great, and I have no problem with that. However, ad campaigns like this are specifically targeting photographers and thereby criminalizing them. I don’t worry so much about the citizens’ reaction, but I do think this legitimizes law enforcement’s wanton and unwarranted harassment of photographers.

How much do you want to bet photographers on Vancouver’s public transit system are going to encounter a lot of problems in the coming year? (Keep us posted.)

Article via CBC

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