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‘Personal social media accounts, sites publishing ads do not require licenses’

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 10: Director of Electronic Media Department at the Ministry of Information LafiAl-Subaie has clarified that personal websites and social media accounts which publish commercial advertisements do not need to be licensed because they are personal sites, reports Al-Rai daily.

The statement incited strong reactions and criticism on the lack of legislation that led to chaos in the field of advertisement due to the prevalence of technical, health and moral violations.

An official source from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry told the daily that licensing and recording violations committed by websites are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Information.

The source said the Ministry of Commerce and Industry reiterated in several meetings with the Ministry of Information the need to monitor social medial accounts and personal websites which advertise products deemed unhealthy or unlicensed businesses.

The source added such advertisements make these kinds of products or businesses – restaurants, real estate or food – appear that they are licensed and safe.

The source also affirmed that the issuance of licenses and citations for personal websites is the responsibility of the Information Ministry. “Those who have no right to issue the license have no right to enforce penalty,” the source explained, while stressing need to license websites that post advertisements in order to protect the rights of consumers.

On the legal side, Attorney Bashar Al-Nassar admitted there are legislative limitations in distinguishing personal accounts and websites. This has prompted the owners of personal accounts to evade legal commitments such as the publication of commercial advertisements according to relevant laws. Attorney Eilaf Al-Saleh stressed the importance of monitoring personal accounts which publish commercial advertisements and promote products as part of efforts to protect consumers and manufacturers from swindling and commercial cheating.

Attorney Fatima Al-Fadli pointed out the Ministry of Commerce and Industry should monitor websites and personal accounts which post commercial advertisements. She asserted it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Information to issue licenses for websites and personal accounts. She also called for amendment of the Cyber Crime Law in order to add stipulations on the conditions for licensing personal accounts which publish commercial advertisements.

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