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Wednesday , February 26 2020

MPs mull legislation on criticizing public figures

KUWAIT CITY, July 10: Although it falls within the social norm, criticizing a public figure through various media outlets will most likely be covered by legislation on safeguarding freedom of speech while protecting the integrity of the person. MPs Ahmed Al-Fadel, Khaled Al-Shatti, Awda Al-Ruwai’i, Salah Khourshed and Khaleel Abul submitted a proposal to add Article 210 to Penal Code Number 16/1960 stipulating: “Excluding direct insults, groundless financial and moral accusations, it is allowed to criticize public figures including the Speaker of the Parliament and its members, prime minister, the Cabinet and any individual in a position of power whose action can be followed through any media outlet. The person criticized cannot take any legal action regardless of the severity of the criticism.”

In their explanatory note, the MPs said a public figure should be criticized on matters related to his work, pointing out areas where he has fallen short and could have done better in addition to constructive criticism. Blatant insults and baseless direct accusations that could damage their reputation and well-being are unacceptable and will be punished by law.

Furthermore, Chairman of the parliamentary Replacement and Job Crisis Committee MP Saleh Ashour clarified that this committee is temporary as per the internal regulations. But considering it is carrying out important work, the committee will continue its work in the next parliamentary term. He added he is strongly considering a proposal to make the committee permanent. He said this will not be an easy task as there are numerous terms and conditions for forming a permanent parliamentary committee, while taking into account that the committee was formed in the latter part of the legislative term. However, the MP is determined to make it a permanent committee, disclosing he will seek consultation on the matter. He added, “I will not abandon the committee until every Kuwaiti finds a job immediately after graduation.”

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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