Taking photos or videos of security forces illegal

Muscat: Photographing the movement of military or security vehicles and posting them on social media platforms, according to the law in Oman, is an illegal act that can attract hefty fines.

With the dusk-to-dawn nationwide lockdown in force, security vehicles are a common sight on every street in the Sultanate.

“It is strictly forbidden to video or photograph the security activities and post them online. Offenders will be subject to in accordance with the law”, said a statement from the Royal Oman Police.

Snapping pictures of movement of defence or police vehicles are seen as crimes affecting the security of the state from inside, as stated in Article 89 of the Omani Penal Code.

But law experts point out that photographing checkpoints, movement of military and security vehicles and their activities can be treated violations of lockdown measures that “provide general protection to all members of the society in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

In accordance with the provisions in the law on combating information technology crimes in Oman, imprisonment for a period of no less than one year and not exceeding three years, and with a fine of no less than 1,000 and no more than 3,000, or one of these two penalties can be slapped on the offenders, points out an expert.

Although the police exempted violators on the first day of the lockdown that began on Saturday evening, it sounded tough with strict monitoring of the social media activities.

“Anyone who sends or shares any video related to the police during the lockdown period or other days will face action as per the law”, the ROP said in an online statement.