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KUWAIT CITY, Sept 8: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim submitted a proposal to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to form a committee which will study the proposal on preventing offensive, hatred and racist speech on social media without affecting the principles on freedom of speech and democracy. Al-Ghanim presented the proposal at the fifth conference of the IPU in Vienna, Austria; which was allocated for discussing ideas on combating hatred speech and spread of misleading information on the Internet. He said the proposed committee shall consist of representatives of various geopolitical groups, while stressing the need to reach an agreement on a global declaration which balances the legal provisions that will be enforced in this regard and protects freedom of speech and democracy. He pointed out the agreement should have a global impact so countries will not be isolated, considering that issues circulated on the Internet spread fast and have no geographical limit.
He asserted there is no formula for screening all social media contents; hence, the need for the coordinated efforts of all concerned parties including states, parliaments, application producing companies, and the cultural or social elite to address the issue. He highlighted the positive role of social media in general, emphasizing that it contributes to the discovery of violations while enhancing democracy and freedom. He said all parliamentary figures are benefiting from social media in terms of direct communication with the people.
However, every freedom comes with responsibility; whereas democracy could be misused or abused, he added. He went on to say that raising public awareness on such issues necessitates long term efforts, but he is afraid that tolerating those who promote hate speech and racism under the pretext of exercising their freedom will destroy societies and lead them into the unknown. He argued that talking about social media does not necessarily mean targeting certain individuals or recognized institutions. He clarified that in most cases; the administrators of suspicious social media accounts include intelligence agencies, gangs, terrorists and psychopaths who are suffering from inferiority complex.
Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Austria and permanent representative of Kuwait to global organizations in Vienna Sadeq Maarafiorganized a dinner party in honor of Al-Ghanim with former United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi, a number of Austrian senior officials, Egyptian Minister of Awqaf Muhammad Mukhtar and First Deputy Speaker of the Jordanian Parliament Ahmed Al-Safadi in attendance.
The Speaker of the Arab Parliament Adel Al-Asoomi said that the Arab Parliament commends Kuwait’s deep-rooted parliamentary experience, as well as the vital role of the Kuwaiti National Assembly. In a statement to KUNA, on the sidelines of his participation in the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, which concluded in Vienna Wednesday evening, Al-Asoomi commended the Kuwaiti policy that is based on wisdom. By Saaed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff and Agencies