Parliament wants to criminalize posting videos of people being attacked online
The CDA and PvdA are working on a bill to criminalize "aftuigvideos," video clips shared online that show a victim being beaten. After such a video showing a group of teenagers attacking a man at the Bijlmer Arena Station in Amsterdam last week, a majority in the Tweede Kamer will support this bill, AD reports.
The bill is in its final phase, and details are expected around the summer. The parliamentarians want to focus on punishing the original source of the video - people who watched and shared it remain unaffected. The CDA and PvdA want to fine the source of the video up to 9,000 euros for filming a victim in a time of need and then posting the images online.
“If you need help, you want someone to extend a hand, not to pick up their phone to start filming you,” parliamentarians Anne Kuik (CDA) and Songul Mutluer (PvdA) said. “We know many horrible examples of vulnerable victims who are put online.”
SP, GroenLinks, Volt, PvdD, and SGP will support the bill. The VVD and D66 are also positive but don’t know yet whether this is the best way to protect victims. The VVD wants to protect victims’ privacy. “On the other hand, everyone sees the cowardice of the perpetrators, and hopefully, they can be found and punished quickly,” VVD MP Ulysse Elian said.
Victim Support has been calling for a change in the law for years to protect victims who are already in an awful situation. Distributing images of people who were attacked, for example, is a “serious privacy violation that necessitates criminalization,” spokesperson Roy Heerkens told the newspaper. “Victims can also suffer mental damage due to unexpected confrontation with the images. Such images can’t be removed from the internet and will haunt them for the rest of their lives.”
The Public Prosecution Service is cautiously optimistic about the CDA and PvdA’s plan to criminalize publishing images of people in need without their permission. “It can be quite useful to make that a criminal offense,” a spokesperson said. “It is absolutely outrageous to make a sport out of spreading these kinds of images. It glorifies violence, stigmatizes, and does more harm than good to the victim. We should not accept that.” But he added that this is mainly a social issue and criminal law alone is not enough to address it.