Taking photo or video in a public place could end up with 2 years jail and huge fine!

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Qatar: 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 offense.

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

Yesterday, 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.

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.

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

The same penalties now apply to two more provisions:

1) Taking or transmitting photographs or video clips of accident victims using any kind of device – unless legally permitted

2) 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.

The law stipulates that it shall be implemented by all the departments concerned and published in the Official Gazette, according to the official Qatar News Agency.

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Last month, the Cabinet took the necessary measures to issue, after referring to the Advisory Council’s recommendations on the matter, a draft law amending the above-mentioned provisions of the Penal Code. One of the stipulations was that anyone who takes or circulates photographs or videos of accident victims through any device in an unauthorized way would be punished.

Earlier, in September 2016, the Cabinet had referred the matter to the Advisory Council for its recommendations.

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”. (GulfTimes)

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