Qatar Cabinet revives draft law that punishes sharing of accident photos

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Jan Persiel/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Authorities are once again considering criminalizing the act of taking or sharing photos of accident victims in Qatar.

Yesterday, the Cabinet forwarded draft legislation that it approved a year ago to the Advisory Council to amend Law No. 11 of 2004.

The new provision would punish anyone who “captures or transmits pictures of the deceased or injured in accidents without the consent of their representatives, through devices of any kind.”

However, those who do so can already be penalized under Qatar’s privacy and cybercrime laws.

Two arrests

According to article 331 of Law No. 11 of 2004, it’s illegal to spread “news, photographs or comments related to a person’s private life, or that of his family.”

And more recently, Qatar’s cybercrime law has drawn flak for prohibiting the publication of content that violates the country’s “social values” or “general order,” among other things.

These laws apparently came into play during two high-profile incidents last year.

In October, one person was arrested for sharing dramatic footage of a deadly traffic accident that involved two teenage boys and a sewage tanker.

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

It remains unclear what those involved were charged with or what penalties they faced.

The Advisory Council is currently on summer break and expected to begin its new term in November.

Thoughts?

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