UAE: Spreading rumours could get you jailed, Dh 1M fine

“We encourage UAE residents to educate themselves first and verify any information they receive," the country's ministry of interior said.

Abu Dhabi: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ministry of interior has warned that anyone who spreads false information and rumors on social media in the country will be punished according to the Internet law, local media reported on Friday. The ministry urged people to act responsibly.

Those found guilty face imprisonment and a civil fine not exceeding one million dirhams.

Under federal legal decree no 5 of 2012 on combating cybercrime, spreading rumors that “harm social peace and public order” and harm “national peace” enables the UAE government to prosecute the concerned individuals.

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Spreading rumours used to be considered fairly harmless, but with the rise of “Twitteratis” and compulsive Facebook users, it has now taken on a somewhat dangerous hue.

“There have been cases in the past where residents caught using social media to spread malicious rumours faced jail term or fine, or both. The UAE authorities will seriously deal with false news spread via social media harming UAE society,” Gulf News quoted country’s ministry of interior.

“We encourage UAE residents to educate themselves first and verify any information that they receive. To safeguard the country’s safety and security, the UAE has put in place strict laws, which include criminal charges and/or fines for damaging social peace and public order. These laws are deterrent in spreading rumours or false information on social media and the internet,” ministry of interior adds.

UAE media content guidelines

Follow the rules of the media in the country, these include

  • Respect for the Emirates, its symbols and its political system.
  • Show respect for other religions.
  • Respect the culture and heritage of the UAE.
  • Do not offend national unity or social cohesion and/or incite sectarian, regional or tribal conflict.
  • Respect the national and international policies of the United Arab Emirates.
  • Do not publish or broadcast information that is harmful to children, women and other social groups, or that may incite others to hatred and violence.

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