26 September 2023

NETHERLANDS: Online attack videos to be outlawed

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The Netherlands Public Prosecution Service has given a welcome to news that legislators are working to produce a Bill that would criminalise publishing images of people in need without their permission.

A spokesperson for the Agency said it would be “quite useful” to make that action a criminal offence.

“It is absolutely outrageous to make a sport out of spreading these kinds of images. It glorifies violence, stigmatises, and does more harm than good to the victim. We should not accept that,” the spokesperson said.

However, he said this was mainly a social issue and resort to criminal law alone would not be enough to address it.

The proposed law changes follow a video clip widely shared online that showed a group of teenagers attacking a man at an Amsterdam railway station.

The legislation is under development and should be ready by the beginning of the year. Parliamentarians want to focus on punishing the person who took the video with a fine of up to €9,000 ($A14,600)

The Victim Support organisation said it supported the proposed law change, with spokesperson, Roy Heerkens saying the organisation had been lobbying for it for years.

“Distributing images of people who are being attacked is a serious privacy violation that necessitates criminalisation,” Mr Heerkens said.

“Victims can also suffer mental damage due to unexpected confrontation with the images. Such images can’t be removed completely from the internet and will haunt them for the rest of their lives.”

The Hague, 19 May 2023

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