Saudi Arabian government departments getting better at responding to ‘Contact Us’ enquiries

Just one click on the “Contact Us” button on government departmental websites, and an alert staff member will reply promptly with the information. (Shutterstock)
Updated 05 February 2018
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Saudi Arabian government departments getting better at responding to ‘Contact Us’ enquiries

JEDDAH: Few things are more reassuring to the general public than the knowledge that government departments are responsive to their needs. Just one click on the “Contact Us” button on their website, and an alert staff member will reply promptly with the information you require organizations with simple and easily answered queries, and gave them eight working days to respond.
Only four did so — the Civil Service Ministry, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, King Fahd National Library and the National Center for Assessment. They replied to queries about job applications, the Currency Museum, electronic books and research studies.

However organizations not yet on the scheme include Al-Majmaah University; Facilities Security Forces; King Fahd Security College; Saudi Post and the Shoura Council.
There was also silence from the King Fahd Complex for Printing the Holy Qur’an, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue, the Institute of Public Administration, Hail University, the Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts Association, the Equestrian Club, Metrology and Quality Organization and the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants.
Many organizations use “Contact Us” buttons on their websites to simplify communication, reduce spam emails and the risk of hacking, and build a useful database of users.
They usually respond instantly with an automated reply confirming that the request has been received and is being dealt with, often with a ticket number to simplify further communication.


Algerian blogger accused of espionage sentenced to 10 years in prison

Updated 25 May 2018
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Algerian blogger accused of espionage sentenced to 10 years in prison

  • An Algerian blogger arrested last year over social media posts has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on espionage and other charges
  • Charges against the blogger, Merzoug Touati, included “incitement for taking up arms against the state”

ALGIERS: An Algerian blogger arrested last year over social media posts has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on espionage and other charges, a human rights activist said on Friday.
Charges against the blogger, Merzoug Touati, included “incitement for taking up arms against the state” and “encouraging crowd gathering,” said Said Salhi, a member of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights.
They also included espionage “with foreign agents, in particular from Israel, with the goal of tarnishing Algeria’s diplomatic position,” Salhi said.
Touati was arrested in January 2017 after he published a Facebook message and a video on YouTube on accounts that were later deleted.
One post called for protests against a 2017 finance law, while the video included an interview with an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman who denied accusations by the Algerian authorities that Israel was behind anti-government protests in Algeria at the time.
Amnesty International said it had reviewed court documents that list the posts as evidence against Touati and that it had found “no incitement to violence or advocacy of hatred.”
“Rather, his posts were covered by freedom of expression in relation to his work as a citizen-journalist,” the rights group said in a statement.
Touati was sentenced on Thursday by a court in Bejaia, east of the capital Algiers.
He has 10 days to appeal the verdict, according to Algerian law.