Qatar Outlaws Sharing of Accident Photos, Videos

Qatar has approved the legislation that imposes jail time and fines for those caught taking, recording or sharing photos and videos of accident victims.

The sultanate’s Emir has approved Law No. 4 of 2017 amends some provisions of the Penal Code with regards to breaching someone’s privacy without prior consent.

It increases the penalty for breaking the law from one year to up to two years in jail. It also doubles the potential fine to up to QR10,000.

Article 333 previously pertained only to offenses such as opening someone’s correspondence, eavesdropping on phone calls and recording or transmitting private conversations.

But according to the Gulf Times, it now also includes two more provisions:

“Taking or transmitting photographs or video clips of accident victims using any kind of device – unless legally permitted – and taking or transmitting photographs or video clips of an individual or group of individuals in a public place through any device with the aim of using these for abuse or defamation.”
High-profile cases

The proposal has been discussed in Qatar’s Cabinet for at least two years.

In September 2015, it approved legislation that explicitly criminalized taking photos of the deceased or injured without permission.

Such images are considered “human and moral” defamation and go against “social and religious” values, attorney Mohammad Al Hagri was quoted as saying earlier that year.

The legislation has been revived although residents can already be prosecuted for taking photos and videos under Qatar’s privacy and cyberspace laws.

The laws applied on two high-profile incidents in 2015 on which a person was arrested for sharing dramatic footage of a deadly traffic accident that involved two teens.

And a month later, two people were arrested for posting a video of a young man smashing into a Rolls Royce at the Sheraton Grand Doha hotel.

However, it was unclear what those involved were charged with or what penalties they faced.