Shoura to discuss new law to protect public taste and ethics


Saudi Gazette report

— The draft law for the protection of public taste, which will be discussed by the Shoura (Consultative) Council in the upcoming sessions, has listed 45 violations under four categories. The law has proposed specific penalties for each category of violations.

Al-Hayat Arabic daily, which has obtained a copy of the draft law, said there are 17 violations related to road and public facilities.

Violators will be asked to pay fines ranging between SR300 and SR3,000 once the offense was established, it added.

The punishment includes imprisonment for two months or both fine and jail sentence, the paper said. These violations include sitting in the resting places of the elderly and people of special needs and tarnishing public facilities by writing on them or by painting.

Throwing waste, dirt and the like on roads and public facilities, distribution of publications at homes and establishments, pasting advertisements and notices on public walls, doors and facilities and causing harassment to pedestrians and users of roads and public utilities are other violations.

The draft law has considered obstruction and disruption of works at public facilities and roads directly or indirectly without any justification as one of the punishable violations, the paper pointed out.

Displaying phone numbers, emails and websites and the like and placing them on cars and other vehicles, and using bright light in public roads and facilities causing harm to others and tarnishing the image of public places by leaving waste, furniture and damaged cars are other major violations that deserve punishment. Other punishable violations are dumping cigarette and food waste from car windows, throwing waste on public roads or leaving waste outside garbage boxes, cutting trees and burn them in vacant public places and properties and holding parties in non-designated places.

Smoking and the like in forbidden places, raising animals among residential buildings or neighborhoods, leaving animals to wander in streets without taking care and precautions and putting things in undesignated places are other violations identified by the law.

The second section of violations has specified six violations relating to mosques, and its punishment included fines between SR300 to SR3,000 or two-month imprisonment or both, the paper explained.

These violations include entering mosques wearing inappropriate dress or with unclean clothes that emit nasty smell or make loud sounds of amusement and musical instruments from public places and cars near mosques and obstruct the way of worshipers to the mosque or sell goods in the courtyards of mosques.

Causing disturbance to worshipers using electronic devices or use them in a way that violates the sanctity of mosque and practicing begging in front of the mosque and collecting donations and distributing advertisements and the like or damage facilities of the mosque are other violations specified by the law.

The third section of the law has specified 11 violations punishable by three-month imprisonment or fines ranging between SR300 and SR3,000 or both. These include all forms of bullying, using shameful, racist and abusive words for the purpose of domination, ridicule or laughter. Such offenses are punishable under the new law.

The law considers all kinds of attack on women and children on roads and public facilities in words, actions or negligence as punishable violations. Ridiculing persons with special needs, the elderly, children and women or insulting them in any form are also punishable violations under the new law.

Using any means or performance that cause noise and disturbance to the public or neighbors or passerby such as raising voice of equipment or organizing parties with din and bustle or writing or placing inappropriate words and images on clothes, vehicles and properties and overtaking others who stand in the queue to receive public services and intentionally harming or using pets in violent games and scenes and obstructing access of ambulance vans and emergency services and the like to accident sites are punishable by the law.