bristol indymedia | 28.06.2005 23:52 | Indymedia
On Monday 27th June the police raided a residential property in Bristol and seized an Indymedia server and other computer equipment. They also arrested one person for incitement to criminal damage under common law. That person has since been released on bail. We see this police action as an attack on the freedom of speech and journalistic independence.
This police action relates to an article posted on 17th June in which persons unknown claimed to have damaged cars being transported on a train. This article was considered by Bristol Indymedia to have breached the guidelines and was hidden.
On Monday 20th the police contacted Bristol Indymedia with reference to this posting. Bristol Indymedia informed the police that they were in the process of instructing a solicitor to reply on their behalf. On Tuesday 21st the police contacted a Bristol Indymedia volunteer requesting the IP logs. Bristol Indymedia considered that the system was journalistic material covered by special provision under the law.
A solicitor from Liberty faxed the police explaining this provision. The police then contacted Bristol Indymedia to request a meeting which Bristol Indymedia agreed to. Ten minutes before the arranged meeting DI Bennett of British Transport Police cancelled the meeting and asked to postpone it.
The next police contact was the seizure of the server and the arrest of a Bristol Indymedia volunteer. The seizure of the server was carried out under a search warrant (police and criminal evidence act 1984, ss.8 and 15), not recognising the journalistic privilege.
"We are outraged at the actions of the police. They have completely disabled the entire Bristol Indymedia news service. By their actions they have undermined the principle of open publishing and free access to the media, thereby removing people's opportunity to read and report their own news. This situation has serious implications for anyone providing a news service on the Internet. We do not intend to let this stop us from continuing the project."
Contact: Ana - Bristol Indymedia Volunteer / 07976 787335