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Social media accounts raise concern – Foreign influencers may target platform

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 8: The National Assembly approved the Credit Information Exchange Bill in its second reading Tuesday with 45 members voting in favor while six voted against.

Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al-Roudhan extended his gratitude to the Assembly and the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee for their efforts in approving what he described as “vital legislation”. The law consists of 21 articles with an explanatory note stipulating the establishment of a regulatory framework for companies working in the field of credit rating for legally bound individuals. This is a necessity for members of the community to obtain the required credit according to scientific and accounting principles.

The law has been referred to the government for the issuance of executive regulations and implementation. On the other hand, the Assembly approved the Mental Health Bill in its first reading with 48 votes in favor and six against.

During deliberations on the bill, MPs voiced concern over some articles while emphasizing the importance of amending these articles before the second reading. The MPs called for revision of the following stipulations: arrest of mental health patients inside the hospital unless a warrant is on hand, admitting mental health patients based on the request of a second degree relative, and imposing harsher penalties for KUNA photo breach of doctor-patient confidentiality code or disclosure of any information about patients.
They also stressed the need to ensure that the bill, once approved, will prevent any form of exploitation; such as criminals avoiding incarceration by claiming mental health problems and admitting themselves into psychiatric hospitals.

There were reservations on the article about hospital arrest, as the MPs think the government must establish mental health units in public hospitals, in addition to the introduction of a rehabilitation program and re-integration policy.

Furthermore, due to the spread of bogus social media accounts that damage the reputation of the country and attempt to incite public disorder, MP Ahmed Al- Fadel submitted a letter to the Assembly requesting the government to present a report on measures it has taken so far to address the issue.

The Assembly approved the request and gave the government one month to submit its report. Indicating that Kuwait is not the only country suffering from this issue, Al- Fadel warned about the possibility of intelligence agencies infiltrating social media to influence their targets due to the openness of such platform. He pointed out it is necessary for the government to come forward and disclose all its efforts in solving the problem.

Commenting on the same issue, MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaii claimed a particular account, which is being used by the government, is paid by three ministries and around 10 MPs. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled responded that over 30 cases were filed against the owner of this account, asserting it is ill-advised to accuse the government of operating social media accounts which damage relations between Kuwait and other countries.

By Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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