Saudi Arabia will punish satire online mocking 'public order, religious values'

Offenders could face up to five years in jail and an $800,000 fine.

Abrar Al-Heeti Video producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is reportedly leading the fight against online critics. 

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In Saudi Arabia, posting satire online that "mocks, provokes or disrupts public order, religious values and public morals" could cost you $800,000 and up to five years in jail, the Public Prosecution, a government agency, tweeted Monday.

Over the last year, the Saudi government has arrested dozens of activists, clerics and intellectuals who have criticized the government, according to the BBC. The country's anti-cybercrime law has also reportedly been used to prosecute critics. With the announcement of this new offense, satire on social media is now also punishable. 

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has eased some restrictions in the kingdom, such as a 35-year cinema ban and a ban on female drivers, but is also leading the fight against online critics, according to Bloomberg