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Fined for taking pictures of Yas Marina circuit? Kipp’s pretty sure all 50,000 people at the Grand Prix should be hauled in for questioning.

February 1, 2011 4:27 by

Two men were fined this week for taking photos of the Yas Marina circuit. According to the National “The State Security Court rejected the argument of two Bangladeshi residents of Abu Dhabi that the track – a premier tourist attraction – was commonly photographed and there were no signs prohibiting cameras.”

Prosecutors said there were signs warning people not to take pictures, though the men dispute this. They received fines of AED 1,000 and AED 500. The paper says the judgment is the latest in a series of verdicts making it clear that the onus is on a photographer to establish if taking photos is legal.

The irony is, the papers are also all full of a jubilant Abu Dhabi celebrating the fact that it beat its hotel guest target by 8 percent in 2010. The emirate is rightly proud that it is becoming an increasingly attractive and popular tourist destination.

“The introduction of exciting leisure products, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, new golf courses, the Yas Island Show Weekends, the ongoing maturity of the emirate’s international events calendar and the launch of new MICE events, such as World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi, helped ensure a very successful final quarter and the destination’s best hotel guest performance yet,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director-General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

Presumably, those exciting leisure products include the Yas Marina circuit, which apparently no one is allowed to photograph.

You can’t have it both ways, thinks Kipp. You can’t invite the world in to visit, then prosecute them for taking pictures of famous tourist attractions. We can understand the prohibition of pictures in security sensitive areas (eg palaces), but the Yas Marina circuit? Kipp has been there, and taken pictures, and so have thousands of other people. 50,000 attended the Grand Prix, and we’d bet that most took a few pictures. Will they be next in court?

Kipp understands that UAE laws and culture treat picture taking slightly differently than other countries, but we really can’t see the harm in taking pictures at Yas. Can you?

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1 Comment

  1. Muzammil on February 2, 2011 1:55 pm

    Hi, Regarding recent stories by The National about people getting arrested for taking photos in public. Just wanted to highlight that there is no \’Freedom of panorama\’ in the United Arab Emirates, and all those photography contests that take place from time to time, promoting the country are technically illegal according to the law. At least this is what was concluded by a discussion on Wikimedia Commons. Thus also making most, if not all photos of Dubai, UAE etc., illegal on Wikipedia too. Discussion on Wikimedia Commons about no FOP in the U.A.E. Commons:Freedom of panorama I suppose it would be useful to everyone if this was highlighted more and professionally investigated and commented more on by U.A.E. copyright lawyers. Thanks, Muzammil , UAE


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