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Punishments for Rumours & False News Sharing on Social Media in the UAE

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Spreading news on social media can be a regular thing. Be it true or false, truthful or misleading, and fun or just to mimic someone. How often do we all share news on social media platforms without properly understanding the consequences and results from it might bring in our lives.

However, this isn’t the case when one is living in the United Arab Emirates. Spreading rumours, false news, or defamatory statements regarding any institution, body, or individual might result in some serious punishments for you.

The legal system in the UAE has enacted a new set of laws, regulations, and rules for dealing with wrong, false, and misleading news or information being shared on social media platforms. The Federal Decree-Law Number 34 of 2021 is concerned with the fight against these activities that all come under the cybercrime banner. The issuance of this law was on 20th September 2021, but the final effectiveness of this rule came into effect on 2nd January 2022.

This rule strictly deals with the use of the internet and different social media platforms that people often take to spread news or share information. The new rule clearly indicates the consequences one might get into for publishing, circulating, or spreading false news, misleading statements, or rumors, according to the authorities in the UAE.

The Highness of UAE Federation of Seven Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s chief, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed-al-Nahayan clearly approved the new announcement and made it necessary for everyone living in the UAE to abide by the rules made to align the nation with the new modernized and developed used of social media and internet.

The Declaration by His Highness

The declaration was made public by the Public Prosecution on a social media platform to highlight the changes, rules, and potential penalties for the offending parties. The statement made it crystal clear that the spreading of news, information, or misleading statements is highly disregarded and would be penalized in accordance with the Federal Decree-Law No. 34 of 2021. This rule was specifically aimed at combatting and meeting the growing concerns of sharing false information on different social media platforms.

The country’s Public Prosecution took a social media platform, i.e., Twitter, to deliver clear instructions in Arabic by pointing towards Article 52 of the Law. The law says that anyone living in any Emirate of the United Arab Emirates cannot share any false, deceptive, or defamatory information on social media platforms. Nor do they allow to take the internet for doing the same. However, if anyone is found doing the same, the punishment for doing it would be dealt with a strict approach and penalties, including imprisonment for one year and a fine of AED 100,000.

Furthermore, the Dubai advocates & legal consultants Dubai clearly state that if the news or information that is being shared is against the state, authorities, or governmental institutions will result even fierce. The punishment includes imprisonment for as long as two years and a fine of AED 200,000.

Using Different Means to Share False Information

Many individuals and groups are using different means of spreading false information. This includes the use of digital robots and electronic robots for circulating false information. And it has been clearly mentioned that people behind these robots will be considered offenders and will be punished accordingly. This also includes sharing or re-sharing of the information. The punishments and penalties for using robots of any kind for passing or sharing misleading or false information will certainly be dealt with as per the following penalties;

 

  • The first includes imprisonment for a duration of two years.
  • Another thing to note is that a fine of AED 100,000 will be imposed on the following individual if found using robots for the said malicious acts.
  • Also, it is pivotal to note that either one of the following or both could result in punishment for the offenders or groups.

Severe Consequences & Retributions to Know Beforehand

The law was enforced from 2nd January 2022, which clearly demands the people living in the UAE to follow the law and abide by the regulations at all costs. In case of offending the one, a lawbreaker will be put forward to the following consequences and retributions.

 

  • The first to bring under consideration is imprisonment which starts from a period of one year to two years of time.
  • The second and most significant to understand is the fine that the lawbreaker should bear. The person found to be breaking the laws will be fined up to AED 100,000.
  • Suppose the false news or information that is being shared on the internet or social media platforms is related to the Covid-19, natural disasters, or any economic crisis. In that case, the punishment includes imprisonment for a maximum duration of two years that is non-bailed. In addition to this, a hefty fine of a maximum of AED 200,000 will be imposed on the law-breaking party, which is unpardonable too.
  • The offending party or parties will also be banned from the use of social media platforms while being in the United Arab Emirates. This ban can be temporary or permanent – depending on the nature of news and information being shared. From this point, the party will be placed under electronic surveillance to prohibit use in the future.
  • Another one is the use of manipulative or fake IP addresses to commit cybercrime. For this, Article 10 apparently points toward the fine of a minimum of AED 500,000 and a maximum of not exceeding AED 2,000,000.
  • Moreover, there are also fines for changing identity while using social media for false reporting under Article 11.

The Key Takeaway

The government and authorities of the UAE see this new rule as advanced and futuristic steps for driving the nation towards the right and truthful track. Moreover, one way of seeing this is also the appropriate and adequate use of powerful mediums such as the internet and social media platforms.

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