JEDDAH – Authorities are to study putting in place a law to govern the workings of Internet news websites and make them answerable to a single body in the same way as the Kingdom’s press is answerable to the Ministry of Culture and Information. Undersecretary for Internal Media Abdul Rahman Al-Hazza’ said the aim will be to codify an Internet law.
A committee of representatives from the ministries of Interior and Culture and Information, the Communications and Information Technology Commission, and the King Abdul Aziz University for Science and Technology will in its first meeting center its discussions on licensing the electronic press, appointment conditions for editors-in-chief, granting permits to journalists, and invitations to cover news events.
Al-Hazza’ met with news site owners Tuesday ahead of the first committee meeting and was “encouraged by their suggestions and opinions and enthusiasm to define a single supervising authority through an administration and licensed offices and recognized sites, and not working from home or under cover”.
The authority for electronic press would, Al-Hazza’ added, also have in place a list of infringements and penalties as is the case for the printed press, with the electronic press working “under license according to a clear program with comprehensive conditions.” Al-Hazza’ said that the Ministry of Culture and Information was keen to maintain contact with the electronic press to facilitate its work in a regulated environment allowing for “freedom of movement and use of news conducted in complete freedom and professional integrity. – Okaz/SG