The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Interior has warned people against posting photographs or video clippings of traffic accidents on social media.
In a statement, the ministry said the circulation of such images or videos “is deemed irresponsible behaviour and shows the lack of a positive spirit among the citizenry. It is also a violation of the law.”
People must respect the feelings of the relatives of the deceased and those injured, the statement added.
“The circulation of these images is unacceptable as it can cause a psychological shock to parents when they view such images,” official news agency WAM quoted the ministry as saying.
Such a move is also ‘contrary’ to the UAE’s values derived from the Islamic concept of tolerance.
The ministry emphasised that those who posted such images on social media would face stringent action.
The announcement comes after photos of a traffic accident at a McDonald’s restaurant in Ajman were widely circulated on social networking sites. Two people were killed in the accident while five others were wounded.
Director of Security Media Department at the Ministry of Interior Major Fawaz Ali Abdullah said the circulation of such images “deepens the pain and grief of their families.”
He reiterated that authorities had already made it clear that “such behaviour” violated the privacy of others.
Major Abdullah stressed that “police authorities were keen to disclose the circumstances surrounding the accident in a transparent and credible manner without any delay once necessary investigations were completed to inform public opinion about its findings.”
The UAE and all the other Gulf states have very strict laws governing the use of social media in the country.
Late last week it was reported that ‘invading the privacy of, defaming or harming others’ on social media can carry a one-year prison sentence and a fine of up to SAR 500,000 ($133,324) in Saudi Arabia.