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Saudi’s Shoura Council to discuss introduction of fines, jail sentences for online abuse

Saudi’s Shoura Council to discuss introduction of fines, jail sentences for online abuse

The proposed changes would class online abuse towards individuals or institutions as defamation

Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council will on Monday discuss amendments to the kingdom’s anti-information crimes law including fines and imprisonment for online abuse

Under the proposed amendments to the law, the use of information services in any form of abuse towards a person or public institution will be considered defamation, according to reports.

This will be punishable with a fine of up to SAR5,000 ($1,333) and a jail sentence of no more than one year.

The same punishment will be applicable to those found to disclose confidential information of individuals or institutions or ways to access that information in any manner.

The Shoura committee on transport, communications and IT requested the amendments due to concerns current laws were not keeping pace with new technology.

Fayez Al-Aziz Al-Harqan and former council members Awad Al-Asmari and Jibril Arishi, who submitted the law, said new forms of technological misuse had emerged that need to be addressed.

The new measures are part of a wider crackdown on the misuse of social media and other online platforms.

In August, the kingdom’s Public Prosecution summoned a group of Twitter users and others charged with harming public order.

Public prosecutor Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Muajab said any individual who shared content deemed harmful to society “whatever its material, pretext and means of publication” would face prosecution.

Read: Saudi summons Twitter users for harming public order

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