Photography in Public and Private Places in Singapore
The issue of photography in public places has been of great interest to most photographers alike, as more often than not, they create photographs in such public places.
I’ll first deal with the general position on photography in public places, and perhaps in a future installment, touch on some rare exceptions which may beat the general rule.
Public Places vs Private Places
The first step is to determine whether the “public place” we are talking about is in fact, a public place in the legal sense.
In my view, a public place is not the same as a privately-owned place with public access.
For example, a shopping mall is not exactly a public place, but is actually a private place with public access (ie the shopping mall owners allow members of the public to freely access it)
A public place would be a place such as the public road, public pavement or footways etc.
In general, an owner of a private place per se will have the right to evict anyone who comes on his premises, and in fact, such entrance can be considered as trespass. For example, if I go into your home without permission, I can be said to trespass into your home.
In the case of a private place with public access, the situation is slightly different. In such a case, even though the place is owned by a private entity, that entity has decided to open up its premises to public access, such as a shopping mall as seen earlier.
Being still a private place nonetheless, the private place owner can set whatever rules he wishes you to comply with if you want to enter or continue to remain on his premises. If he does not like what you are doing, they can revoke the right of entry and evict you from the premises. If after eviction you persist in entering or staying, then you become a trespasser.
In the case of a true public place, such as a public road, no private entity (ie only the police or Government) can stop you from being there; and usually the police or Government will cite some other specific provision for denying you the right to be there.
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