Friday, 11 September 2020
Flemish Minister for Media Benjamin Dalle has reacted with dismay to the way intimate photos and videos of several male Flemish media personalities were placed online without their consent and shared tens of thousands of times.
The nude images and videos have been shared on social media and messaging apps for several weeks now, but sharing such images without consent is punishable, Dalle said.
“The photos and videos belong to the private sphere of these people. Those who distribute the images are committing a crime,” he said on VRT radio. “There is only one thing to say about this type of behaviour: unheard of.”
The psychological damage the victims can suffer can even lead to acts of despair, Dalle stressed, referring to the story of a teenage girl in Wallonia who took her own life after nude images of her were shared online earlier this year.
“These are not things to go over lightly. They are events that lead to unfathomable sadness,” said Dalle, adding that it is up to everyone “to strongly condemn people who participate in the distribution of such images and the facilitation of cyberbullying.”
It is unclear how and why the images were published online, and the three men involved remained silent on the matter, until one of them filed an official complaint on Thursday.
On Friday morning, one of the other victims, who is a radio host, made a statement about the images on air, urging people to stop sharing them and to open the debate about sexting.
In the meantime, the court ruled that the images may not be published or shared. Anyone who still does so, risks a penalty of up to €10,000.
The Brussels Times