Sharing photos of accident victims punishable, Emir issues new law

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A new law issued by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani makes clicking, recording and sharing images and videos of accident victims a punishable offence.

A person found guilty can be penalised by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years and/or a fine of up to QR10,000.

HH the Emir issued Law No 4 of 2017 amending some provisions of the Penal Code, promulgated by Law No 11 of 2004.

The amendment pertains to Article 333 of the Penal Code, which deals with legal provisions and penalties for breaching the privacy of individuals without their consent, except in cases where it is legally permitted.

Breach of privacy acts

The acts that can lead to breach of privacy include:

  • opening a private letter or telegram addressed to other individuals,
  • eavesdropping on a telephone conversation
  • recording or transmitting conversations that take place in a private place through any type of device;
  • and taking or transmitting photographs or video clips of a person or a group of persons in a private place through any type of device.

Increase in penalty

  • The maximum penalty for these offences has been increased to prison term not exceeding two years and/or a fine of up to QR10,000.
  • Earlier, the punishment was one year in jail and/or a maximum fine of QR5,000.

The same penalties now apply to 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.

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The amendments are aimed at prohibiting the widely prevalent practice of sharing accident victims’ pictures, mostly on social media platforms, according to reports.

Article 333 is among a series of provisions in the said law that deals with “calumny, defamation and secret disclosure”.


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Published on 9 March 2017

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