Posted by Fajer Ahmed
So last week, Mark got accused of defamation and I just so happened to be working on a case regarding defamation at the office which is why I decided to write about it in this post.
What is defamation?
Defamation is an umbrella where all these other acts fall under: libel, calumny, vilification, slander and traducement (lawyers and their complicated words). Basically what defamation means is the coommunication of false statements that harms an individual/company/product/doggy/sect/book/religion/object etc
I know what you guys are most likely thinking, how can someone be accused of defamation for something written online? Most of you have most likely heard someone say there are no internet crimes in Kuwait. Well, that’s not true. Yes, technically there is no law dedicated to what happens online and there is no law that states anything about what anyone does virtually except for the new commercial law that has one article stating that board members can join board members meetings virtually (which I thought was awesome). But, just because there are no laws that regulate anything that takes place online it does not mean you can not get punished in Kuwait for defamation. So lets look at the law:
“Any person who attributes to another, in a public place or within the earshot or sight of a person other that the victim, an event which hurts his reputation, shall be punished by incarceration for a period not exceeding 2 years and a fine not exceeding two thousand Rupees or either of both penalties”
Okay I know the article is not clear, and there was a lot of debate when I was back in law school whether this article can be implemented on someone that is defamed virtually. Thanks to the ministry, they’ve stated that it does apply. Here is a link to a statement by the MOI [Link]. There is even a case where Article 209 was used against tweeps.
There is also a department for cyber-crime in the MOI that falls under the General Department of Criminal Investigation.
So what does all the above mean? Do we or do we not have freedom of speech in Kuwait? Are we not allowed to state our opinions? Well we do have freedom of speech by the constitution and to some extent, we enjoy that in newspapers and on twitter. You can state your opinion but you need to state facts and you have to have good intentions and not harm anyones reputation or be rude.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Note: There is another article for defamation in newspapers under law no.3 for 2006 and other crimes can happen online.
Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
Have a Kuwait law related question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.