Saudi Arabia's newly passed "public decency" law seems to be in a pending state as an official recently revealed that the implementation of it is yet to be enforced. 

On Monday, an official at the Ministry of Interior told Arab News that the law is yet to be cemented. Saudi Arabia's Press Agency also reiterated the same point in a tweet posted that same day.

"Regulation of maintaining public decency has not been enforced," the tweet read. 

The legislation aims at criminalizing any act deemed distasteful to the public, with fines up to 5,000 riyals ($1,333). Its first article defines public decency as "a set of behaviors and morals that reflect the country's social norms, values and identity." Under the bill, immodest clothing, graffiti art, and several other acts will officially become illegal once the law has been enforced across the kingdom. 

The legislation was officially passed on April 9

The kingdom's cabinet approved the public decency law on April 9, days after the country's Shura Council also agreed on it. However, the implementation of the law is still underway, as concerned authorities study the ways in which it can be applied. After all the steps have been finalized, a date for the laws to take effect will be publicized. 

However, it seems as though the plan for execution has not been approved by all parties just yet. 

What's illegal under the law?

The law - once implemented - will criminalize bullying in all its forms including name-calling and racist language. 

Playing loud music or spreading disruptive sounds in public will also be prohibited under the law. As for outfits, wearing immodest clothing or garments with questionable prints on them will also be punishable. For men, wearing shorts or walking in public in white underwear garments is also deemed an offense. 

In addition to the above, the law will criminalize crossing a queue in a public space, filming people without their consent, unlicensed graffiti art, putting up posters in streets, placing advertising brochures in front of homes or on cars, littering, and going into mosques while wearing dirty clothes.

The law affects a wide range of public spaces

Any place outside a person's home or personal space will be governed by the "public decency law," including: 

  • All Public Transportation 
  • Educational Facilities 
  • Medical Facilities 
  • Malls & Shopping Centers 
  • Hotels 
  • Sports Stadiums & Sports Clubs (Gyms)
  • Restaurants & Cafés 
  • Museums 
  • Cinemas 
  • Exhibitions 
  • Parks
  • Roads & Highways

The authorities responsible for issuing fines under the legislation in the very near future include the kingdom's Ministry of Interior and the country's Tourism Authority.