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UAE: Bystanders fined Dh1,000 for crowding around accident sites, taking photos and videos

Sharing clips or images of accidents on social media is punishable by law



Photo for illustrative purposes
Photo for illustrative purposes
by

Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Sun 16 Jan 2022, 10:40 AM

Last updated: Sun 16 Jan 2022, 10:53 PM

Police in emirates across the UAE have urged community members to avoid gathering at accident sites and taking pictures or videos of those who are injured.

Doing so can result in a fine of Dh1,000, as per the UAE Federal Law. Brigadier Saif Mohair Al Mazroui, the director of the Traffic Department at Dubai Police, said the force recently issued fines of Dh1,000 to many onlookers who gathered around accident sites.

Authorities have said gathering around accidents makes it difficult for security and medical authorities, especially ambulances, to reach the site on time. Crowding is also dangerous because it obstructs the flow of traffic and sometimes leads to more accidents.

In addition, police stressed that publishing pictures of dead bodies or injured people on social media without permission is illegal and punishable by law.

The Ministry of Interior, in coordination with the police and civil defence departments in all emirates, had previously warned community members against crowding around as part of an awareness campaign titled 'Beware the Gathering'.

Instead of crowding and filming, Al Mazroui urged the public to provide assistance and cooperate with the police in a positive way. The official said the crowding problem is particularly difficult to handle if the accident is near dangerous curves or exits of tunnels, where it is difficult to see the street completely.

"Some onlookers shoot the scene on telephone cameras to circulate the images among others, which is an invasion of the victims' privacy and affect the police investigation adversely," Al Mazroui said.

Ibrahim Mosbeh, deputy director-general of Police Operations and deputy commander-general of the Sharjah Police, said people fail to realise the consequences of publishing photos without consent. But police authorities in the country have the means to access the source of images published unlawfully. Those who publish such photos will be arrested.

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"There were several cases of persons involved in such practices, who were arrested and referred to the public prosecution," he said.

Know the law

Salim Sahoh, legal advocate at Sharjah Court, said filming or photographing accidents or sharing accident-related clips and images on social media are crimes that could result in imprisonment and fines.

According to the UAE Federal Law, motorists who gather at accident sites can immediately be given a fine of Dh1,000. Meanwhile, the penalties for sharing accident site clips and images are listed in Article 197 (bis 2) of the UAE Penal Code under the Ministerial Resolution No. 178 for 2017 on 'Rules and Procedures of Traffic Control'.


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