05 September 2018

Saudi Arabia Will Now Punish Online Satire With Five-year Jail Term

Saudi Arabia has announced it will punish online satire with jail sentences of up to five years, as the kingdom continues its crackdown on political dissent.

Saudi leaders are treading a fine line between societal reform and political repression, seeking to retain absolute power while modernizing the conservative nation.

In a statement Tuesday, the country’s public prosecutor said any online content that “disrupts public order” would be subject to new punishments, AFP reported.

“Producing and distributing content that ridicules, mocks, provokes and disrupts public order, religious values and public morals through social media...will be considered a cybercrime punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of three million riyals ($800,000),” the tweet said.

The country’s cyber crackdown has raised concerns among human rights groups, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—son and heir to the elderly King Salman and considered the power behind the throne—seeks to maintain the crown's tight control of society. [Newsweek] Read more