Posting court rulings on social media for public reaction a form of defamation, Saudi legal experts warn

Posting court rulings on social media for public reaction a form of defamation, Saudi legal experts warn
Updated 07 September 2017

Posting court rulings on social media for public reaction a form of defamation, Saudi legal experts warn

Posting court rulings on social media for public reaction a form of defamation, Saudi legal experts warn

RIYADH: Senior lawyers and legal advisers have warned against the circulation of court rulings through video or postings on social media in a bid to solve them through appeals and instigate public opinion.
They said this is a form of defamation and such perpetrators will be held accountable in accordance with the Cybercrime Law.
Khalid Al-Babteen, a legal adviser, explained the reasons behind the circulation of such recordings of personal cases on social media. He said this step has become easy, useful and very effective where you find a lot of sympathizers.
However, because promoters of these cases do not know court proceedings, they are prone to mistakes; therefore, it is better for a qualified person who has judicial knowledge to discuss the case.
For those who are unable to plead before the courts, the Ministry of Justice will take care of them, he underlined.
Ahmed Al-Jitaili, a lawyer, said social media has contributed to give free space for ideas but has not been accompanied by the awareness of the responsibility of word selection. Therefore, court rulings should not be commented on and judges should not be criticized or it will become a form of defamation.
Most criticisms on service agencies normally happen due to individual errors which should not be generalized to cover the whole agencies, he said.
Al-Jitaili underlined that there is a need to spread awareness on judicial systems which can be done with the help of lawyers, a responsibility that falls on the Ministry of Justice and community organizations.
On the other hand, those who spread rumors and distort the image of institutions without evidence, should be held accountable, while community institutions have a role in enlightening the public and helping those have grievances by guiding them to the proper channels, he pointed out.
Rana Daknan, a lawyer, said the phenomenon of circulating video on social media against the judiciary is instigating public opinion and negatively affects cases, and involves parties that could be exploited to harm said parties and the image of lawyers.
She said courts are the sole places to file cases, adding that ending the phenomenon should come through the open-door policy, an approach which is followed by the Kingdom where courts are open for all, and some court heads are communicating and interacting with visitors to finalize their cases.
The Ministry of Justice has enormously developed in recent years and the pace of litigation is different compared to five years ago; therefore, it is unfair not to mention these achievements.