The European Parliament is likely to adopt an initiative report that could potentially hamper the right of press photographers to take photographs in public spaces, the International and the European Federation of journalists (IFJ and EFJ) have warned. The report, drafted by German eurodeputy Julia Reda, makes a number of proposals to amend authors' rights legislation in the EU as a contribution to the European commission’s upcoming revision package on authors’ rights to be issued this fall. The current draft report includes an amendment that requires prior authorisation for taking photographs of works located in public spaces for commercial purposes, thus overturning the so called “Freedom of panoramas” as it exists in a majority of EU member states. IFJ/EFJ affiliates in Europe have raised their concerns over what appears to be a serious threat against well-established national legislations that allow taking such photographs without authorisation. “ This provision is seriously hampering freedom of expression by preventing professional photographers from freely reporting and informing the public,” said IFJ president Jim Boumelha. “If this provision is adopted as such by the European Parliament, the door will be opened for enacting legislation that subjects press photographs of works of art, monuments and buildings that are placed in the public space to authorisation. “ “We call on members of the European Parliament to vote against a provision that is bad for the press and bad for democracy and leave freedom of panoramas as a matter for national member states to decide,” EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård added. EU Parliamentarians will vote on the text in plenary on 9th July in Strasbourg.
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