Bringing the dignity back

A new law was passed in Germany this week that strictly prohibits the photographing of accidents, people in accidents, or people being rescued by the fire department or paramedics. For the stubborn people out there who refuse to follow this and will stop to stare, or even photograph, the fine can range between €20 – €1000, or in some extreme cases it can also mean a jail term of two years. Referred to as the Gaffer and Onlookers Law, Here is how the new fines have been defined:

  • Driving on the emergency lane of the highway and thereby obstructing the ambulance or firetruck: €20
  • Parking on the emergency lane of the highway and thereby obstructing the ambulance or firetruck: €25
  • Stopping and Staring : €20 – 1000
  • Obstruction of assistance/rescue: fine or up to one year imprisonment
  • Photographing or filming an accident: fine or up to two years imprisonment

Click HERE for the full description. My apologies, it is only available in German so far.

If this law were to be passed in Asia and Latin America, the police departments and city governments would be filthy rich, not to mention that the jails would be overflowing!

I welcome this new law for several reasons, but primarily because in this age of social media, so many people have lost their sense of propriety as to what to post online. Let the injured have their privacy and retain their dignity, and for heavens sake, respect the work of the rescue teams fighting to save someone´s life. It is not OK to slow down and stare, it is not OK to stop and take a quick snap for tumblr, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and it is definitely not acceptable to make someone else´s suffering public just because you could.

In addition, yesterday a new Cabinet decision was reached to enforce stricter laws and fines for Upskirting. I can´t believe that our society has deteriorated so much that it has now become a game / competition to photograph women under their skirts with a selfie stick or a mobile phone while they are climbing stairs or on the escalator. Upskirting is not just a gross violation of privacy but is also sexual harassment. It became a criminal offence in the UK in 2018 and was added to the list of sexual offences punishable by law. Germany is on a similar path and I can only hope this can become a worldwide movement.

Click HERE for the chronology of Upskirting becoming a criminal offence in the UK.

For those of you out there who don´t know better and can´t tell the difference, photographing an accident or under a woman´s skirt just for kicks is not street photography or boudoir and such images have no place online. It is interference, harassment, rude, and thank goodness, now punishable by law.

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