Wednesday, June 12

Press Release: Freedom to Shoot Photowalk 6.12.13

Photographers Declare June 12 as Freedom to Shoot Day

Bawal Mag Shoot Dito-Only in the Philippines (BMSD Pilipinas)

Scores of photographers marched from historic Rizal Park to the walled city of Intramuros in the morning of the 115th Philippine Independence Day, June 12, 2013. The photo walk-protest was organized by Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito, a group of professional photographers and photography enthusiasts calling for freedom to take pictures in public and historic places.

"We declare our Independence Day as a day where every Filipino can freely take pictures. This is in response to the continuing abuse to camera-wielding Filipinos who are discriminated and barred from fully expressing their photography in historic and public sites in our country especially Rizal Park and Intramuros" said Mel Cortez, founder/creator of the Facebook group Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito- Only in the Philippines (BMSD Pilipinas)

BMSD Pilipinas condemns the act by security personnel in Intramuros and Rizal Park where Digital SLR camera users are profiled and selectively prevented from taking pictures unless able to secure a permit and pay the administrator. Unlike foreign nationals who are free to shoot around the historic sites, professional photographers, photography hobbyists and even Filipino tourists with cameras are discriminatively targeted with the no-pay-no-shoot policy reserved to commercial photo shoots. The group also condemns the act reported by numerous photographers where they are asked 500 Pesos by the guards to be allowed to shoot rather than pay the exorbitant fees for professional photo shoots, a clear act of extortion. Intramuros Administration charges P2000.00 for a 4-hr pre-nuptial pictorial while National Parks and Development Committee /Rizal Park costs P1,000.00.

"In the first place, there is no official policy on not allowing photographers in taking pictures in historic sites. But the unclear policy of charging photographers presents ambiguity that creates loopholes and makes all camera-wielding Filipinos susceptible to abuse" explained Cortez.

The group also asks incoming lawmakers to create legislation to declare historic and public sites as photographer-friendly. "We firmly believe that promoting freedom of expression through photography will be beneficial to the country as it will promote the country's heritage and tourism" added Cortez.

I may not be able to attend this event but my support for this group is always there.

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