Sunday , January 21 2018

Freedom of speech no licence to defame

Atyab Alshatti

Insulting, offending or mocking other people are acts that do not go unpunished. The Criminal Law fights against people who degrade others verbally or in written form, especially those who think that the law will not be applied on them as they are merely “expressing their opinions freely;” while their “expression” is considered offensive — an act punishable by law.

The Criminal Law takes one step further by protecting people’s dignity, integrity and reputation to ensure that the legal system is secured and unflawed. Unfortunately, people insult others through a new way that they think could help them get away with what they do. When they insult someone, they try not to curse nor use insulting or disparaging terms to avoid being accused of “insulting in public.” These acts have become widespread, especially on social media platforms.

If you look at the comments in the social networking account of a famous person, you will notice a lot of people trying to put him down by uttering cruel and disrespectful words. Once this person tries to sue them; he takes a step back, thinking the plan is useless because there are no insulting terms but the comments are still offensive.

For example, a chef is presenting a recipe, then somebody comments: “I don’t think you’re doing it right … you’re not Spanish, you cannot do paella. It doesn’t look good and your previous videos show how horrible is your cooking. There are more important things to do in life than cooking … It’s a waste of time … I’m just expressing my point of view and I advice you to quit trying.” Just perfect! A crime was committed even if the person who wrote the comment tried to act smart by not typing any insulting word. Still, the whole comment contained hateful and disrespectful messages which offended the chef. He can definitely sue the one who wrote the comment.

Such people misunderstood the Constitution by thinking that freedom of expression includes hurting others by uttering certain words and claiming that it is “respectful” point of view. This is a misunderstanding because neither the Constitution nor laws allow violating the rights of others. Your freedom stops where the rights of others begins

By Atyab Alshatti, Esq.
Email: lawyeratyabalshatti@gmail. com

 

 

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