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Spreading Rumours Can Land you in Jail and Fines of up to Dh500000

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Pavitra Shetty

Published on March 9, 2024, 10:29:53

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fake news, rumours, UAE Cybercrimes law, cybercrime, fine, misinformation

Have you ever pondered about the consequences of spreading rumours in the UAE? While some may view rumours as harmless gossip, spreading them is considered a serious legal offense in the UAE, carrying severe repercussions.

News plays a crucial role in our lives, shaping our perceptions and guiding our choices. Dissemination of false information can have far-reaching consequences. The UAE has enacted stringent measures to combat misinformation and rumours, and protect societal interests.

Spreading rumors, particularly on social media, is strictly prohibited under UAE's cybercrime laws. Those who violate the law can face severe penalties, including imprisonment and hefty fines. Article 29 of Federal Law number 5 of 2012 outlines punishments for spreading rumours with malicious intent, while Article 9 addresses the misuse of IP addresses.

Rumours pose a serious threat to society by hindering development and challenging stability, which is precisely why the UAE's laws aim to maintain order and protect its citizens from misinformation.

The rapid spread of news through social media often overlooks its credibility, leading to the dissemination of false information and fabricated stories. The UAE acknowledges this challenge and has taken proactive steps to address it. The implementation of Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021 and Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021 signifies the government's commitment to combat rumours and cybercrimes

Article 43 of the Cyber Law penalises individuals who use information networks or technology to spread false events or insults, with punishments ranging from detention to fines of up to Dh500,000.

Similarly, Article 52 of Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021 targets the spread of false information that disrupts public peace or threatens public interest. Offenders face detention and fines starting from Dh100,000, with more severe penalties for cases involving epidemics, crises, or emergencies.

These laws aim to safeguard public opinion, maintain peace and protect national interests in the digital age. Spreading rumours can harm someone's reputation, cause emotional distress and even damage relationships.

The UAE takes pride in its strong sense of community and respect for individuals, and spreading rumours goes against the values of honesty and integrity that the UAE upholds.

(The writer is a legal associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm)

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