‘Rein in in­so­lent ones’

‘Some cross­ing red line’

Arab Times - - LOCAL - Twit­ter@alzmi1969

By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi “Free­dom and re­spon­si­bil­ity are con­joined twins, if one gets sep­a­rated from the other, they both die”, French Au­thor, André Mau­rois (1885 — 1967).

Ev­ery coun­try has its own laws; its own judicial sys­tem and courts but ir­re­spon­si­ble free­dom be­comes a tool of de­struc­tion and wreck­age. There is a com­mon phrase, which peo­ple of wis­dom usu­ally re­it­er­ate in a bid to keep free­dom in check: “Your free­dom ends where the free­dom of an­other per­son starts”.

Kuwait is a coun­try of in­sti­tu­tions that en­joys free­dom of speech, free­dom of press and opin­ion, so dis­putes or com­plaints re­lated to free­dom are re­ferred to the ju­di­ciary, which en­joys good rep­u­ta­tion, in­tegrity and im­par­tial­ity. The ju­di­ciary un­der­stands the prin­ci­ple of in­no­cence un­til con­victed, and we are proud of that.

When it comes to the gov­ern­ment, this en­tity is known for its tra­di­tion of deal­ing with friendly coun­tries — es­pe­cially neigh­bors in the best pos­si­ble man­ner through trans­parency and re­spect.

In many oc­ca­sions, the gov­ern­ment through its rel­e­vant chan­nels has re­ferred Kuwaiti colum­nists, au­thors and Twit­ter users to the Public Pros­e­cu­tion for of­fend­ing friendly nations, es­pe­cially the lead­ers and per­son­al­i­ties of friendly nations.

It is com­mon to hear that such of­fenses at­tract huge fi­nan­cial fines and even im­pris­on­ment — and whether or not we are in sup­port of such mea­sures; the main ob­jec­tive is to main­tain the level of mu­tual re­spect while pre­vent­ing un­war­ranted provo­ca­tions. This is some­thing al­most ev­ery Kuwaiti be­lieves in.

How­ever, de­spite the plau­si­ble di­rec­tives of Gov­ern­ment and its ef­fort to en­sure that none of its cit­i­zens trans­gresses and dis­hon­ors any of our friendly nations, it is safe to say we haven’t heard of sim­i­lar mea­sures be­ing taken by our friendly nations against their na­tion­als who would of­fend our lead­ers and per­son­al­i­ties.

I did not want to write this ar­ti­cle — es­pe­cially about this topic, but the re­cent trans­gres­sions com­mit­ted by some of our brothers in the friendly coun­tries that stooped to the level of in­sult­ing and de­fam­ing our state per­son­al­i­ties is sad and un­called.

In­deed, the re­gion is go­ing through un­for­tu­nate cri­sis be­tween friendly and broth­erly coun­tries but de­spite un­prece­dented level of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion prompt­ing me­dia war on news­pa­pers or satel­lite chan­nels, and the fiercest of all is the war tran­spir­ing on so­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion me­dia plat­forms.

This cri­sis has at­tracted piti­ful meth­ods of en­gage­ment that pro­motes ha­tred be­tween brethren, let alone the com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tion wit­nessed at a time when the re­gion is go­ing through crit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments in po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary as­pects, in ad­di­tion to civil war in the Le­vant and Iraq, Ye­men and other parts of the Arab world.

Fur­ther­more, the re­gion is fac­ing a ma­jor in­ter­fer­ence by some ma­jor re­gional coun­tries, which war­rants the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC) to stay united by over­look­ing dif­fer­ences to be able to prop­erly ma­neu­ver its way out of the dan­ger lurk­ing around.

The ob­jec­tive of this ar­ti­cle is clear, our friendly coun­tries should de­ci­sively deal and im­ple­ment the law on any­one who trans­gresses and of­fends the en­tity of our coun­try or its per­son­al­i­ties, which is tan­ta­mount to what we do to our peo­ple when they cross the line in this re­gard.

None­the­less, we have come to know that our gov­ern­ment has filed law­suits against some me­dia per­son­al­i­ties and Twit­ter users in the friendly coun­try for of­fend­ing and dis­hon­or­ing our coun­try and its per­son­al­i­ties.

The move comes at an ap­pro­pri­ate tim­ing to ce­ment the con­cept that en­tails ev­ery­one to bear re­spon­si­bil­ity for their ac­tion in ac­cor­dance with law.

Con­struc­tive crit­i­cism is healthy and wel­comed but it should not cross the line that dis­tin­guishes defama­tion from crit­i­cism, given that free­dom and lib­erty are deemed a moral re­spon­si­bil­ity be­fore any­thing else, and this en­tails stop­ping un­war­ranted in­so­lence.

Al-Azmi

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