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What Should You Do if You are a Victim of Cyberbullying, Online Harassment in the UAE?

Understanding Cyberbullying and Online Harassment: UAE Law and Reporting Procedures

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Pavitra Shetty

Published on March 29, 2024, 10:25:08

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cyberbully, harassment, digital safety

Cyberbullying and online harassment have become prevalent issues in the UAE, and understanding the laws and reporting mechanisms is crucial for combating these offenses and ensuring online safety.

UAE laws against cyberbullying and harassment are robust, and Federal Decree No. 34 of 2021 deals with countering rumours and cybercrimes. This article delves into what constitutes such behaviour and how users can navigate the legal landscape.

Defining Cyberbullying and Online Harassment

Under the Cyber Law Federal Decree No. 34 of 2021, cyberbullying encompasses various forms, with spreading rumours highlighted as a significant offense falling under Article 52. These acts can result in severe consequences, including legal repercussions and detrimental impacts on mental health. The law outlines different violations and corresponding penalties:

  • Spreading rumours (Article 52): Up to two years in jail and a minimum fine of Dh100,000.
  • Online threats (Article 42): Punishable by up to two years in jail and fines ranging from Dh250,000 to Dh500,000. In severe cases, imprisonment can extend to 10 years.
  • Defamation (Article 43): Potential imprisonment and fines ranging from Dh250,000 to Dh500,000.
  • Invasion of privacy (Article 44): Punishable by up to six months in jail and fines between Dh150,000 to Dh500,000.
  • Breach of personal data and information (Article 6): Minimum six months in jail and/or a fine of at least Dh20,000 up to Dh100,000.
  • Incitement to lewdness or prostitution (Article 33): Provisional imprisonment and fines ranging from Dh250,000 to Dh1 million, with stricter penalties if the victim is a child.
  • Unauthorised circulation of personal pictures or pornographic material (Article 34): Jail time and/or fines ranging from Dh250,000 to Dh500,000, with more severe consequences for offenses involving children.

Reporting Cybercrimes

Various platforms and channels are available for reporting cybercrimes in the UAE, including:

  • Ministry of Interior: Use the hotline (116111), visit the MOI's website, or use the Hemayati application.
  • UAE Federal Public Prosecution: Access their website or use the 'My Safe Society' app.
  • Al Ameen: Contact via toll-free number, SMS, or email.
  • Dubai Police and Abu Dhabi Police: Use their respective websites or contact their services directly.

Guidance for Victims: What to Do if You Experience Such Criminal Behaviour?

You should follow the following steps if you become victims of cyberbullying or harassment:

  • Maintain records: Keep records of all incriminating messages, posts, emails, or any other forms of communication for future reference.
  • Educate yourself about the laws: Familiarise yourself with laws related to cybercrimes, cyberbullying, and online harassment to understand your rights and legal options. Seek legal advice if necessary.
  • Block and report: Prevent further contact by utilising the 'block and report' feature available on mobiles, online platforms and emails. Notify concerned social media platforms of abusive behaviour.
  • Exercise caution: Limit the amount of personal information shared online to reduce vulnerability to cyberbullying and harassment.
  • Raise awareness: Share your experiences with others on social media platforms to raise awareness about cyberbullying and online harassment and encourage proactive measures to combat them.

By understanding UAE laws and reporting mechanisms, individuals can effectively combat cyberbullying and harassment, promoting a safer online environment for all users.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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