Written answer by Minister for Law, K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on the Dissemination of Photos and Videos of Victims of Accidents and Crimes through Electronic Means
03 Feb 2020 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong
To ask the Minister for Law whether the Ministry can consider prohibiting the dissemination of photos and videos of victims of accidents and crimes through electronic means.
There are existing laws that prohibit the dissemination of photos and videos of accidents and crimes through electronic means in certain instances.
First, in egregious cases where such conduct is accompanied by an underlying ill-intent or poses a law and order issue, offences under the Penal Code may be disclosed. If the dissemination is carried out with the intent to harass, Protection from Harassment Act (“POHA”) offences may be disclosed. Whether or not a criminal offence is disclosed depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Second, under POHA, victims of harassing photographs or videos can also bring civil proceedings to require the publisher or social media platforms to take down the harassing material.
We would like to remind everyone to behave compassionately and be mindful of the consequences when sharing photos and videos of victims of accidents and crimes. These photos and videos may cause distress to and inflict further trauma on the victims and their families.
Beyond legal prohibition, society’s norms and etiquette have to mature in tandem with the proliferation of online communication. That is why the Government and the Media Literacy Council have been promoting responsible online behavior to create a safer and kinder internet. For example, the 2019 Better Internet Campaign, themed “1 Click Away”, encouraged online users to think and exercise sound judgment about the effects of a simple act of clicking to share their posts or photos online. We will continue to build on such efforts.
Last updated on 03 Feb 2020