Qatar has recently published laws which further protect the rights and privacy of individuals. In a decisive move, the latest protections will positively impact our growing trend of using social media in a responsible manner, acknowledging the impact such communication has on the individual's right to privacy and social safety.

Under the previous Article 333 of the Penal Code, individuals were only protected in terms of their private conversations in person or on the telephone. This has now been extended by Law Gazette No.4 of 2017 to cover the recording of conversations and the taking and transmitting of pictures of individuals injured or deceased in public places. As such, the privacy of individuals in public places is now protected.

Law Gazette No.4 of 2017 was published on 30 March 2017, amending Article 333 of the Penal Code below:

"Anyone who violates the private life of individuals without their consent, other than in cases authorized by law, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of not exceeding two years and by a fine not exceeding QAR 10,000".

The following acts constitute a violation of the private life of an individual:

  1. The opening of letters or private telegrams addressed to other individuals.
  2. The recording of telephone calls.
  3. The recording or transferring of conversations held in a private place using any kind of device.
  4. The capturing or transferring of pictures or videos of an individual or individuals in a private place using any kind of device.

The new amendment imposes the same penalty stipulated in the preceding paragraph to the following situations with regard to an individual:

  1. The taking or transferring of pictures or videos of another individual or individuals in a public place, using any kind of device, for defamation purposes.
  2. The taking or transferring of pictures or videos of individuals injured or deceased or involved in accidents, using any kind of device, other than that authorised by law.