DOHA: Taking pictures of people in public places without their permission and posting defamatory comments on social media are serious crimes under Qatar’s Anti-Cyber Crime Law and courts have recently convicted a number of people for these offences, a senior lawyer has warned.
Speaking to Arabic media, lawyer Hawass Al Shammari warned people against photographing individuals in public places, which can attract provisions of the said law and punishment.
In a case, the court convicted a woman of posting pictures of others on a website and was fined QR10,000 and charged with posting pictures with an intention to offend. The Snapchat account she used was suspended and the website that published the pictures was blocked.
In another case, a person filed a complaint with the Department for Combating Economic and Electronic Crimes stating that the defendant defamed him on WhatsApp by publishing a picture of a court ruling against the complainant after photographing the judgment on a website.
“The law takes a strict view of violating the privacy of individuals in public places, and filming, if any, must be in a very careful manner. No one should take pictures that expose the lives of others or encroach into their private lives,” said Al Shammari
Taking pictures in public places or photographing individuals in public places without their knowledge or permission and publishing them on social media such as Facebook and Snapchat can expose the person to criminal proceedings under the law, she added.
The case begins with an individual filing a complaint with the police. The argument that the action was in good faith and not to offend is not usually entertained by the Public Prosecution and the judiciary.