Al-Watan learned that the joint and special committee, which has been formed to discuss the draft law on information crime, ended its discussion of the project last week. The joint committee is expected to present the draft law to the People’s Assembly for a vote by representatives next week. The latest draft follows the committee amending many articles, while also adding other articles that were not included in the earlier draft received by the government. The committee tightened some of the inserted clauses and reduced penalties applying to other articles, according to information obtained by Al-Watan.
Among the articles added by the joint committee—which comprises the Information, Communications, Information Technology, and Legislative & Constitutional Affairs Committees of the People’s Assembly—is an article addressing undermining of the state’s financial status. The draft law provides that this offense is punishable by four to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of 5 to 10 million Syrian pounds. These penalties apply to anyone who has created, managed a website, or posted news on the Internet that undermines cash and exchange rates as listed in official bulletins.
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With regard to the article about undermining the state’s reputation—which provoked concern amongst the Syrian people—the article was included after the joint committee agreed that the offense would be punishable by three to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to 5 million Syrian pounds. These penalties apply to anyone who has published false news on the internet that would undermine the state’s reputation, harm national unity, or incite public opinion.
Another article added by the committee concerns constitutional crimes. According to information obtained by al-Watan, anyone who publishes violations online that contravene the constitution will face seven to ten years’ imprisonment.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.