Kuwait court overrules ‘gag’ decision on social media reporting poll

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KUWAIT CITY, March 7: In a significant verdict, the Criminal Court of Appeal, presided over by Counselor Muhammad Ghazi Al-Mutairi clarified that electoral gag does not extend to electronic media platforms, as there is no provision to punish such conduct, reports Al-Jarida daily. The court made this announcement as it overturned a lower court verdict to fine an electronic media platform on a social media network, deeming it a legal violation due to the absence of specific legislative punishment. T

The court stated in its ruling that it disagreed with the Public Prosecution’s assertion that applying criminal statutes concerning publication restrictions before elections constitutes a punishable offense in the absence of explicit legal provisions. The court emphasized that the accusation against the accused was based on evidence from a legal researcher at the Ministry of Information, who claimed that the accused, on a specific date, had failed to verify the accuracy of the information published on their Twitter account regarding electoral silence violations. The Ministry of Information’s complaint cited a violation of Article 7 of Ministerial Resolution No. 143 of 2016, which prohibits the broadcast or publication of any content, related to candidates for the National Assembly elections on polling day and the preceding day.

However, the court determined that while such actions may contravene regulations and regulatory decisions, they do not constitute a criminal offense in the absence of specific legal penalties. The court concluded that the prosecution failed to substantiate the accusation against the accused, as there was no evidence to prove that the published information was inaccurate or untrue. Consequently, the court annulled the lower court’s verdict and acquitted the accused of all charges. The prosecution had initially charged the accused with failing to ensure the accuracy of published information and violating electoral silence, seeking punishment under various articles of the Electronic Media.

By Jaber Al-Hamoud
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff and Agencies

This news has been read 1288 times!

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