Tough punishments for misusing social media and broadcasting channels have been drawn up by the government.
The new amendments to Article 370 of the 1976 Penal Code includes jail terms of up to five years and fines no less than BD3,000.
Jail terms of up to three years and fines between BD500 and BD1,000 will also be handed out to ‘peeping Toms’, and individuals found guilty of taking and spreading inappropriate or private pictures or videos of others.
The punishment also extends to those convicted of editing or broadcasting the pictures or videos, and those who record and broadcast a private conversation, spread rumours that would harm others, and spread pictures of those injured in accidents or killed.
However, without an official complaint from the victims within a specific timeframe the act cannot be considered as a crime.
Amendments to Article 372 have also been presented and include jail sentences of up to three years with up to BD1,000 fine for those who open or read private letters or listen to calls or voice recordings.
Leaking information from the letters or calls to cause harm will carry the same punishment, but the fine would be increased to between BD1,000 and BD2,000.
The Legalisation and Legal Opinion Commission has backed the government-drafted amendments, which were referred to it for review.
The commission told MPs in writing that the amendments provide necessary protection, which is not tackled in existing legislation.
“The amendments to Article 370 aim to protect the lives of individuals and their families from any harm that may happen,” it said in its legal explanation.
“The government’s proposed punishments aim to criminalise misuse of social media or any other method whether clicking, publishing or broadcasting pictures.
“While amendments to Article 372 aims to stop invasion of privacy.
“We believe that replacing both articles will serve the individual and public good.”
The amendments will be debated during Parliament’s weekly session on Tuesday.
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