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10 Places Where Selfies Are Banned

November 3, 2016

Mumbai Oceanfront, India

Mumbai, one of India’s major cities, and perhaps the most hip and happening city, too, is teeming with a young population hooked to Social Media. And yet, taking a selfie has been banned in many places across the city. Following a series of fatal accidents, the city has set up some 16 “no-selfie”zones. The city’s oceanfront, the Marine Drive and Chowpatty beach are two important places where police patrols enforce the selfie ban. Both are coastal zones with no railings or lifeguards, and may be hazardous to careless selfie enthusiasts. Since 2014, India has recorded 19 of the 49 selfie-linked deaths across the globe.

Garoupe Beach, France

The beaches of Southern France are undoubtedly a dream destination for any travel enthusiast and the desire to click a self portrait in one of these sunny beaches must be irresistible for any selfie enthusiast. Add to this the eagerness to show off designer wear swimsuits and exotic locales, and the selfie could soon turn into a “braggie”. Even as early as 2014, the Garoupe beach in France went ahead and declared some zones as “No Braggies Zone”. This is a clear indication that selfies have gone on to become tools to show off and incite jealousy rather than enjoy oneself. Police patrols on the beach keep selfie-enthusiasts in check regularly.

Pamplona Bull Run, Spain

Another 2014 selfie ban was the one passed in Pamplona, Spain. In fact, the ban was passed on use of all recording equipment and filming the bull run, not only on taking selfies. But, it also mentions taking selfies while bull running. The ban is enforced rather strictly. In 2014, a bull runner was caught on tape slowing down intentionally,  inches ahead of the bulls, to click a selfie. The police in Pamplona fined the bull runner €3,000 and the crackdown is not a lone incident. Bull running is dangerous enough without risking a selfie.

Footballers In Iran

Sports enthusiasts and fans have graduated from procuring their favorite sports person’s autograph to taking a selfie with their stars. But, the world of football in Iran has a different code; especially, when it comes to females fans. In 2015, the Iran Football Federation’s moral committee has issued a decree prohibiting its football players and coaches from posing for selfies with their female fans. The ban was issued by Ali Akbar Mohamedzade, head of the committee when the team was on a tour to Australia. Apparently, the selfies of players with Australian women whose dress code is in sharp contrast with the conservative Islamic dress code of Iranian women drew flak back home.

With Tigers In New York

In 2014, the state of New York passed a bill (later enacted in 2015) banning the growing trend of taking selfies with tigers and big cats. The law had to be enforced after a huge surge was witnessed in the number of selfies posted by people on Tinder with tigers and similar big cats. The phenomenon, referred to as “tiger selfie”, became a rage and sparked concerns that the people were taking unnecessary risks and getting too close to dangerous animals. Many argued that wild animals in zoos, carnivals, and circuses were routinely abused and hence were more dangerous.

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Another selfie ban imposed in 2014 was the one that the Lake Tahoe park officials imposed on visitors. Taking selfies, especially with the wild bears, seemed to be very popular with the tourists of Lake Tahoe. This, however, may be potentially dangerous and puts their lives at risk. Reckless behavior by the tourists sparked concerns with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit which issued such a ban.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is best known for its excellent art collection and for the fact that it attracts some 1.4 million visitors each year, making it one of the most crowded but coveted museums of the world. In May 2013, the museum allowed its visitors to indulge in personal photography for the first time. This led to a new set of troubles, though. The conflict between those wanting to see the paintings and photograph the paintings became too much for the administration to resolve. Those wanting to take selfies with the paintings seemed to be in constant conflict with those who wanted to appreciate the art from close quarters. The museum reinstated the selfie and photography ban in 2014.

Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel depicts the most notable and prominent art in the globe, painted by the most famous artist of all time, Michelangelo. The chapel attracts over 4 million visitors each year. None of them are allowed to click selfies within the premises. Though, the reason is not an aversion against selfies. In 1980, the papacy decided that it was time to restore the artwork in the chapel and the Nippon Television Network Corporation of Japan won a bid to restore the chapel in exchange for sole photography and videography rights to all the artwork.

Polling Booths in London, UK

While selfies are not technically banned in London’s polling booths, the Electoral Commission strongly discourages voters from taking any photographs, including selfies, inside the booths. This is to prevent voters from accidentally violating the complex laws involving secrecy of ballots. According to Section 66 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, photographing and sharing a photo of a ballot paper is an offence but photographing itself is not an offence. A number of polling booths have set up selfie zones outside to cater to selfie crazy voters.

Hajj In Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Selfies are technically not banned here but many believe that stutter bugs and photo enthusiasts are distracted from the purpose and sanctity of the Hajj due to their newfound love of taking selfies. Islamic values prompt every true Muslim to undertake the Hajj to the holy shrine at Mecca, at least once in a lifetime. For most people this is indeed an opportunity of a lifetime, but a 2014 fatwa against Hajj selfies admonishes selfie taking as a “form of unacceptable irreligious self worship”.

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An Indian. Born a princess, now a storyteller. A gypsy at heart, rebel by nature, TamBrahm by nurture. Quintessential wine woman. An empath. A fauji biwi.