‘Electronic mendicancy’ to be considered illegal

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AMMAN — The Ministry of Social Development has announced the formation of a committee to revisit the fundraising bylaw for charitable organizations and its 1957 amendments, which regulate the work of charities in Jordan.اضافة اعلان

The need for revision arose from the need to accommodate new methods of collecting donations, including electronic donations, according to a statement released by the Ministry on Monday.

The development of this system has become necessary to keep up with technological advancements, the minister said in the press release.

The new laws must be clear and explicit regarding modern ways of collecting donations, especially electronic ones, so that there are clear regulations and measures for collecting funds, whether monetary or in-kind donations, he added.

The new system seeks to solve the problem of electronic mendicancy, i.e. begging using the internet, for which the current law contains no specific provisions.

Updated statistics on the scope of electronic mendicancy in Jordan are unavailable.

Electronic mendicancy is an issue of cyberspace and does not have any statistics like regular statistics, Ministry of Social Development spokesperson, Ashraf Khrais, told Jordan News over the phone.

“Social media is new to all societies including the Jordanian society. Therefore, there were no law provisions governing this issue, not a law nor a by-law,” Rateb Nawaiseh, a lawyer and legal expert, told Jordan News over the phone.

He said that legislation develops with society and that circumstances have now called for amending the system to include electronic mendicancy.

“This has unfortunately become a disturbing phenomenon,” Nawaiseh told Jordan News.

Vagrancy is punishable by law in Jordan. Authorities arrested 1,597 beggars in February and March of 2021, according to an official report published on Tuesday.

“When you receive a message asking for money or any other kind of donation, you are unable to report them because they are not covered by the Cybercrime Law or by the Penal Code,” Nawaiseh added.

Many comments soliciting money and in-kind donations can be found in the comments section of Facebook posts.

“I’m from … and reside in Jordan, I need your help in paying my rent. Please help me,” said one of the comments on a popular news agency post.

“They’ve cut off our electricity bill … I need help … if only JD100,” another post on a Facebook group read.