Social media hate crime to be treated same as offline offenses

People protest against Islamophobia and Daesh a day after a van crashed into pedestrians at Las Ramblas in Barcelona. The UK government is now cracking down on hate crime on social media. (Reuters)
Updated 22 August 2017
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Social media hate crime to be treated same as offline offenses

LONDON: Hate crime committed in the UK via social media will be treated the same as offenses committed offline, according to new guidelines set out by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The revised guidance will cover all strands of online hate crime, and comes in response to the rising volume of hate crime reported to the police, and after consultation with community groups about the changing nature of this type of offense.
In 2015-16, the CPS completed 15,442 hate crime prosecutions, the highest number recorded to date.
The conviction rate across all forms of hate crime rose from 82.9 percent in 2014-15 to 83.2 percent in 2015-16, according to CPS statistics.
“Hate crime has a corrosive effect on our society, and that is why it is a priority area for the CPS. It can affect entire communities, forcing people to change their way of life and live in fear,” said Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions.
“These documents take account of the current breadth and context of offending to provide prosecutors with the best possible chance of achieving justice for victims. They also let victims and witnesses know what they should expect from us.”
Alongside the release of these guidelines, the CPS has launched a social media campaign — #HateCrimeMatters — as part of an effort to encourage people to report hate crime incidents.
A hate crime is defined as an offense motivated by hostility, or that shows hostility, toward the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.


Social media abuzz with celebratory posts

Bahraini and Saudi women celebrate the lifting of the driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia on June 24, 2018. (REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed)
Updated 25 June 2018
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Social media abuzz with celebratory posts

  • In an apparent dig at those who used to oppose women driving in the past, the former imam of Makkah’s Grand Mosque, Adel Al-Kalbani, tweeted: “Aren’t those who said ‘women won’t drive” cute?’”
  • Lebanese model and actress Nadine Njeim shared a touching video congratulating Saudi women. She encouraged them to continue being role models in leadership roles as well.

JEDDAH: Following the lifting of a ban on driving, Saudi women are in a festive mood. On Sunday, many women in the Kingdom with valid driver’s licenses took to roads on their vehicles.

It is a historic reform, which is expected to usher in a new era of prosperity and economic development in the Kingdom.

Social media is abuzz with tweets and posts celebrating this key development. Saudi officials, businessmen and even international celebrities used social media to express their feelings on this historic decision and to congratulate Saudi women on this important day.

Mody Al-Khalaf, a Saudi Shoura Council member, expressed her support to her fellow sisters using Twitter. She tweeted: “It is now 11:59 PM, June 24th in Saudi Arabia. If there ever was a historical 60 seconds, this is it. #ReadySetGo #SaudiWomenDriving”

Top businesswoman Ameera Al-Taweel called on men to extend full support to women and help them achieve their goals in life.

“On such a historic day, I wish to see women being brave and men supporting them. In most countries, we see a ‘New Driver’ sign at the back of every vehicle indicating that the person driving is inexperienced — out of consideration for new drivers. I wish we could all be considerate of other women and realize that this experience is new for them, just to ensure everything goes smoothly for everyone.”

A twitter user Aziz Al-Angari  (@AzizAngari) from Saudi Arabia shared his first experience with an Uber lady driver, Ohoud. “Just requested my first Uber ride from a Saudi female. Thanks for the ride, Ohoud! #SaudiWomenDriving”

In an apparent dig at those who used to oppose women driving in the past, the former imam of Makkah’s Grand Mosque, Adel Al-Kalbani, tweeted: “Aren’t those who said ‘women won’t drive” cute?’”

Former Pakistani cricket player Shoaib Akhtar, also known as the Rawalpindi Express for his lightening bowling spells on the field, tweeted: “Congratulations to all the women in #SaudiArabia #womenempowerment #SaudiWomenDriving.” 

Talli Dar, artist/YouTuber from Toronto tweeted: “Starting today, Saudi women can finally drive. They’ve officially been issued their licenses and can start racing Saudi men on the streets and see who’s the Fastest & Most Furious. Historic moment #SaudiWomenDriving.”

Lebanese model and actress Nadine Njeim shared a touching video congratulating Saudi women. She encouraged them to continue being role models in leadership roles as well.

“Every woman in the Arab world and especially in Saudi Arabia – today is your day, today you achieved greatness because you trusted in yourself, your strength and abilities.”

 Hiba Tawaji, the Lebanese soprano singer, also released a video to congratulate Saudi women by sharing a song she performed live in Riyadh on Dec. 7, 2017. She said: “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars. Congratulations!”