The fine for exposing personal information of individuals against their will using the Internet may be increased to BD20,000, which is 400 times the existing BD50 fine.
This comes as the Council of Representatives votes this Tuesday on a bill submitted by the second branch of the Legislative Authority in the Kingdom, Shura Council, to amend the country’s Penal Code.
The proposed amendment increases the existing punishment for publishing photographs or comments relating to individuals private or family lives from serving an imprisonment sentence not exceeding six months and/or paying a fine not exceeding BD50.
Submitted to the council’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Committee on March 14 this year for approval, the bill stipulates replacing the punishments mentioned in Articles 354 and 370 of the Kingdom’s Penal Code with tougher penalties.
Article 370 stipulates that “a prison sentence for a period not exceeding six months and a fine not exceeding BD50, or either penalty, shall be inflicted upon any person who publishes by any method of publication news, photographs or comments relating to individuals’ private or family lives, even though they are true, should the publication thereof be offensive thereto”.
As for Article 354, it reads that “a punishment of imprisonment for no more than three months or a fine of no more than BD20 shall be inflicted upon any person who is found in a public road or in a place frequented by the public inciting pedestrians, by words or signs, to indulge in vice”.
If implemented, the proposed law would punish those proved to commit the crimes mentioned in both articles by imprisonment not exceeding three years and paying a fine not less than BD10, 000 and not exceeding BD20, 000.
Committee Head MP Abdulla Binhowail earlier explained that such acts would be considered an aggravating circumstance and the maximum punishment would be inflicted if they were committed using any mean of social media networks.
Committee members approved the proposed amendment and issued a report that will be reviewed and voted on by the 40-member council during its ordinary weekly meeting scheduled this Tuesday.
Abusive and defamatory posts on local social networks have recently become a phenomenon, with some accounts dedicated to sharing scandals and exposing personal information of citizens and residents.
Source Credit: DT News