news 06 06 2017 3bA study at the University of Bahrain has recommended that the punishment be tightened for the crime of defamation against public sector employees committed by means of information technology (IT). The study found that the spread of communication networks led to an increase in using IT in committing the crimes of libel and defamation, which demonstrate clear disregard of victims’ honor and dignity.

 

The study, presented by the student Abdullah Nuri Sulaiman, a Master's degree candidate, is entitled “Defamation against Public Servants under the Bahraini Legislation: a Comparative Study”. The study clarified that defamation is among the crimes committed against Public Servants on a continuous and repeated basis, and is considered one of the most common crimes against the honor and dignity of the victim. The offense is committed either in a traditional or modern manner through modern IT and communication means, which contributed to the increasing of such crimes. Therefore, legislations have provided criminal protection to Public Servants by criminalizing defamation and aggravating punishment for the perpetrator.

 

The researcher pointed out that the study highlights the issue of protecting Public Servants, which is a cornerstone of the public function. The study deals with the criminal protection of the public office and its functionaries, especially crimes of honor and dignity, in order to enable Public Servants to carry out their duties calmly and reassuringly. The research extensively studies the methods of protection employed for persons of public character, especially defamation, and suggests solutions therefor.

 

The study considered that “it is better for the Bahraini legislator to exclude defamation against Public Servants made through a complaint by the victim from the record of criminal proceedings as provided for in Article 9 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This is in order to allow the investigation to be taken without the need of a complaint by the Public Servant. This is because the Public Servant will try to evade accountability and will not submit the complaint, because if the perpetrator can prove the incident, the Public Servant will be held criminally accountable.”

 

The study also examined ways to demonstrate the defamation provisions committed through means of IT, the extent to which the public element in these means was maintained, the penalty for defamation committed through IT means and the adequacy of the punishment.

 

news 06 06 2017 3aThe study also discussed the appeal in the work of Public Servants as one of the reasons for permitting defamation. It is known that comparative legislation, including the Bahraini legislator, allows defamation against a Public Servant if it is intended to achieve public interest provided that the following conditions are collectively met: 1- defamation is committed against a Public Servant or anyone in a similar capacity, 2- the subject of libel is related to the functions of the job, 3- the perpetrator is well-meaning, and 4- the perpetrator should prove the facts attributed to the Public Servant.

 

The study was conducted in a comparative analytical approach, based on the legislations of France, Egypt and Bahrain. The study was divided into four chapters. Chapter 1 deals with the basis of criminalization against Public Servants, Chapter 2 deals with the elements of the crime of defamation, Chapter 3 discusses the means of committing this offence, and Chapter 4 deals with the right to appeal in the work of Public Servants.

 

The subject of the study is a recent one dealing with defamation against Public Servants, which will contribute to providing the Arab legal library, especially in the Kingdom of Bahrain, with research on the subject of libel or defamation against Public Servants.

 

The discussion committee consisted of Professor Abdulsalam Benhado, of Public Law at the College of Law, as an internal examiner, and Dr. Omar Al-Hadithi, Associate Professor at the Department of Public Law at Kingdom University, as an external examiner. The research was supervised by Dr. Saeed Hasaballah, Assistant Professor, of Public Law at the College of Law.