Earlier this week I made a post about an incident at Toronto’s Union Station whereby a Toronto Star photographer, Alex Consiglio, was arrested and ticketed for trespassing. (Two police officers were injured while trying to subdue a man who tried to open the doors of a moving GO Train.) Mr. Consiglio took a photo of an injured police officer and then, just outside the station, took a photo of a couple who had witnessed the incident. At this point he was arrested. As to exactly what happened both Metrolinx and the Toronto Star have different versions.
However at the heart of this is the issue of whether or not a permit or waiver of some kind is needed by reporters to take photographs at Union Station. When I asked Metrolinx directly they said this is not the case and that the media reports were confused. Reports in the Toronto Star and elsewhere strongly suggest otherwise. If, as the evidence suggests, that some sort of waiver is required, for whatever reason, by journalists to take photographs at Union Station then this is indeed outrageous and should immediately be cancelled. It gives the appearance of trying to control the press. This is not the first incident involving photographers at Union Station. I have heard of others involving people who were within public areas.
After I made my original post on this incident the evening of June 5th I was very sharply criticized by Metrolinx for it, being accused of poor journalism. I was frankly taken aback by this and at first apologized and then withdrew my original post and update. It did not help that June 6th was a very hectic day for me and I was feeling stressed as a result.
Metrolinx has told me that they have had good relations with the Toronto Star and wish it to continue. I as a freelance journalist have had good relations with Metrolinx and wish it to continue as well. However, the only way good relations can continue is for Metrolinx to clarify, in no uncertain terms, what their policy is towards photography at Union Station for both individuals and journalists and if there are any requirements for a permit or a waiver for taking photographs that these immediately be removed, except in the case where permission is sought to go in restricted areas, filming a t. v. show or movie or other such commercial purposes.