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Solidarity Page: Imc Bristol Server Seizure

IMC UK | 29.06.2005 13:28 | Indymedia

On 27 June 2005, the server of IMC Bristol was seized under a search warrant (police and criminal evidence act). One IMC Bristol volunteer was arrested on suspicion of incitement to criminal damage and bailed the same day. Six months later, in December 2005, the volunteer was informed that he would not be charged.

On this page, you find a timeline of the events, reports in the media, and further information.

imc nantes comments on bristol server seizure

Supporting Indymedia Bristol and UK

Bristol Imc Legal Fund: Cheques can be made out to Bristol Indymedia. Box 3. 82 Colston Street, Bristol BS1 5BB.

Imc Uk: In order to provide grass-roots non-corporate coverage during the G8 protests and events, Indymedia UK needs additional http mirrors to help decrease bandwidth costs. If you would like to help, please contact us at or donate here.


December 22, 05 Statement from imc Bristol: "The police recently informed the BIMC volunteer arrested back in June when they seized computer equipment including the server which hosted Bristol Indymedia, that no further action is to be taken by them.
This means that following the search warrant, the raid on a house, the seizure of equipment (including a mobile phone, computers and a digital camera), the finger printing, DNA swabbing and photographing plus questioning of the volunteer, plus the holding of the seized equipment for around four months - that no charges are to be brought. Bristol Indymedia is still consulting its legal advisors as to the courses of action open to them."

December 6 The BIM volunteer who was arrested when the server was taken got a letter from the police to say that they were not going to charge the individual with anything re the indymedia server seizure. This info has been passed onto the solicitior to see where to go next.

October 26 Bristol indymedia equipment returned to solicitors Bristol Imc report

October 21 Bristol server still not returned - Bristol Imc Statement

July 6 Bristol Imc is back online with a brand-new codebase - Oscailt - to replace their old DADA code. Their archive is currently missing, partly because CID are in possession of it, partly because getting the DADA back-ups to be compatible with the new Oscailt set-up is a job in itself.

June 30 reports: "In pursuit of the story's author, police requested access to the site's internet protocol (IP) logs which document the location of its users, but Indymedia refused on the grounds that the site's content should be protected by journalistic privilege. Indymedia today told dotJournalism that a programming script deletes user's IP addresses from the site logs, and said it is unlikely that police could identify the unknown poster using the confiscated server."

June 29 It now turns out, in a communiqué published on Indymedia Uk, that was not the only site affected by the recent server seizure. Euskalinfo, "the only update page in English on the Basque conflict in the world", was hosted on the same server and went offline, too.

June 28 Bristol Indymedia issues the second press release: "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." New imc uk feature. Press articles start to appear on the web.

June 27 Indymedia Bristol's server was seized under a search warrant (police and criminal evidence act 1984, ss.8 and 15), not recognising the journalistic privilege. An Indymedia volunteer was arrested during the raid on suspicion of incitement to criminal damage and released on bail the same day. Imc Uk publishes a feature.

June 24 Bristol Indymedia issues the first press release: "As part of our policy, we will not make non-public information we hold publicly available. We do not permanently store IP addresses. We do not intend to voluntarily hand over information to the police as they have requested"

June 21 The police contacts an IMC Bristol volunteer asking for IP logs, leaving messages on his work telephone. The subject of the police enquiry is the posting which appeared on their newswire on June 17. The solicitor contacts CID to inform them that they could not have the server, or access to it. The police say that they could go through data protection and legal moves to get the logs or get a search warrant, and that they may arrest somebody for obstructing the course of justice. At this point, an IMC Bristol volunteer informed IMC UK. Approached by IMC Bristol, the legal advisor of Liberty informed the police that this server was considered an item of journalistic equipment and so subject to special provision under the law. NUJ and Privacy International have also been contacted.

June 20 Bristol Indymedia receive an email from the police asking to contact them with reference to a posting on the IMC Bristol newswire. IMC Bristol volunteers appoint a solicitor and start briefing them to contact the police on their behalf.

June 18Bristol Indymedia volunteers hide the post from their main newswire within 24 hours of it being posted, as it violates IMC Bristol editorial policy.

June 17 A posting claiming that damage had been done to either some cars on a train transport, the transport itself, or the railway line appears late in the evening on the imc Bristol newswire [google cache]

Press Reports

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We are collecting media coverage in the UK and elsewhere.

Reports in UK

30.06.2005 29.06.2005
  • 28.06.2005 - "Bristol Indymedia Server Seized By Cops Due to Local Tout"
  • 28.06.2005 The Register - "Legal row after police seize Bristol Indymedia server"
  • 28.06.2005 the INQUIRER - "Second UK Indymedia server downed by iPlod"
  • 28.06.2005 bbc bristol online - "Indymedia server seized in raid"
  • 28.06.2005 Red Pepper - "Indymedia under attack again"
  • 28.06.2005 Freelance - "More Indymedia seizures"

Reports elsewhere

  • [de] 28.06.2005 - "Indymedia UK beklagt Repressalien"
  • [at] 28.06.2005 - "Repression gegen Indymedia UK"
  • [en] 28.06.2005 slashdot - "Second Indymedia Server Seized in UK Within a Year"
  • [en] 28.06.2005 Free Internet Press - "Second Indymedia Server Seized..."
  • [en] 28.06.2005 - "Großbritannien: Erneut Indymedia-Server beschlagnahmt"

Indymedia Coverage

  • [tu] 29.06.2005 www indymedia org - "Bristol Indymedia sunucuları durduruldu"
  • [ru] 29.06.2005 www indymedia org - "Отнемане на сървъра на НМЦ Бристол"
  • [de] 27.06.2005 imc germany "Bristol/UK: Server vom IMC Kollektiv beschlagnahmt"
  • [en] 27.06.2005 IMC Ireland - "Police seize indymedia server in Bristol"

Statements of Support

  • 30.06.2005 Tim Lezard, president of the NUJ: We are not agents of the police and are not here to provide them with information. We are obviously not happy that police have closed the server. We are supposed to be a free press." [bbc]
  • 30.06.2005 Kurt Opsahl,EFF: "By seizing the servers, the UK authorities pulled the plug on the entire Bristol website - our modern printing presses - and took down a host of political journalism. Every news publisher should be wondering, 'will I be silenced next?'" [bbc]
  • 29.06.2005 Lee Salter, Lecturer in Journalism (University of West England): "The seizure of the Indymedia Bristol server illuminated deficits in the law. Law protecting journalists were drafted with mainstream news organisations in mind, so it cannot cope with media collectives. Whilst the police might well have had good reason to investigate the claims made on Indymedia Bristol's web site, by effectively shutting down the whole operation the police have acted insensitively and have used rather extreme methods, especially when Bristol IMC have been far from uncooperative."
  • 28.06.2005 Hilary Wainwright, editor of redpepper: "We condemn all attempts to silence the independent media and we join the National Union of Journalists, Liberty, Statewatch, Campaign against Criminalising Communities, International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Sans Frontiers, Privacy International, Liberty and many more groups in expressing complete and unconditional support for Indymedia at the G8."
  • 28.06.2005 Free Internet Press - Editor: "As a news source, I can simply say how we'd feel. We would be absolutely furious if anyone attempted to tamper with our equipment. We support Indymedia. Attempts to silence any media organization cannot be tolerated! There is quite a bit to this issue, we suggest you read all the links in the story."

Additional Info

7 October 2004: Indymedia servers in London were seized in an international law enforcement operation just prior to the European Social Forum, prompting a wave of protests and solidarity statements from a wide range of organisations [report].

21 June 2005: Italy-based server autistici informed its users that it has been compromised by the authorities for more than a year.



Hide the following 5 comments

Post G8

29.06.2005 23:31

So after the G8 is the whole story going to be told?

Auntie Fash

Alternative Bristol Information Outlets

30.06.2005 11:55

In the days before the BIMC server was seized an 'unofficial emergency response network' was publicised on BIM in anticipation of the seizure. The re-routed page to an extent, thankfully, makes this less necessary, but it doesn't have such a Bristol / South West focus.


The Bristol Social Forum & Bristol Stop-The-War message boards have now been opened up so that anyone can currently post to them from any email account (although posts will continue to be moderated and there may be a delay of a few days on the Bristol Social Forum so that emails can be sent out in more user friendly batches direct to people's inboxes.)

As it has a subscription base of 350+, it is a valuable outlet.

Bristol Social Forum. (Bristol / South West focussed posts please)
Anyone can post to:
You can also subscribe if you like, instructions at bottom of page.

Bristol Stop The War. (National level posts are also welcome here)
Anyone can post to:
99% of subscribers only receive the monthly newsletter direct to their inbox, but it is widely publicised as a public message board too, so it has it's uses.



30.06.2005 11:57

All donations towards new server / legal costs will very much appreciated.

Other methods of donating may follow shortly. For the moment it's the old-fangled cheque / postal order way of doing things.

Cheques can be made out to:
Bristol Indymedia. Box 3. Greenleaf Books, 82 Colston Street, Bristol BS1 5BB


Friends Of BIM


Bristol Indymedia : Back and Now on Oscailt!

09.07.2005 15:11

Hello Bristol Indymedia reader,

Bristol Indymedia is back:

The delay in getting it back up was partly caused by us being right in the middle of testing a new (and apparently infintely better) codebase when it got seized (that and G8 summit distractions.)

There seemed little point plugging the old clunky DADA code back in, but the new Oscailt code is still a little under tested.

We're also currently missing the archive, partly because CID are in possession of it, and partly because getting our DADA back-ups to be compatible with the new Oscailt set-up is a job in itself.

So, here you go, BIM is back! If you find any bugs please do let us know, there's bound to be a fair few, and some bugs will show up on some packages and not others, so it is very necessary to have your feedback.

Please email us with any bug reports:

Or let us know what you find by commenting below.

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Bristol Indymedia

29.08.2005 00:40