In the digital age, social networks have become an essential tool for communication and expression that a very large part of the population (residents and citizens) of the UAE uses on a daily basis.
The networks allow people to connect with each other, share experiences and convey messages. But be careful how you use them. In the UAE, the Media Regulatory Office (formerly the National Media Council) manages and regulates media activities of all kinds.
The Emirates Public Prosecutor’s Office has reminded all residents that they are not allowed to incite others to break the law under penalty of heavy sanctions.
Adapting the UAE legal framework
The United Arab Emirates is a moderate and tolerant society, but also a federal state where there is a power to regulate the behavior of the inhabitants and the respect of others. The rules are often strict and this is why the crime rate is one of the lowest in the world.
Indeed, although the country has had a flourishing economy in recent years, it remains a Muslim and conservative country despite the tolerance shown by the government.
Despite this flexibility, many expatriates and Emiratis are led to disregard the laws, which sometimes lead to outbursts, hence the adaptation of certain laws to maintain a balance and the safety of all.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office is constantly updating the decrees and laws, and invites the whole population to be aware of what constitutes a crime.
Take the example of unlicensed fundraising or invasion of privacy (photographing individuals without their consent), these acts are heavily punishable in Dubai.
Each of us has a duty to inform ourselves and to be aware of the laws governing the country in order to avoid sanctions.
Article 209 of the Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021
Article 209 of the Federal Decree-Law No. (31) of 2021 promulgates the law on offences and penalties.
The UAE Public Prosecution Service recently issued a warning against such acts on social networking platforms, and stated that some offenders could even be imprisoned.
Take the example of an influencer who was sentenced by the court for offending a private hospital on social media and using his fame to damage the hospital’s image.
This incident did not go unpunished as the court fined her AED 5,000 and asked her to remove the video.
The government passed a law on the matter:
“Whoever swears against another person, or attributes to him an incident which would make another person liable to punishment or contempt by another person by using an information network, information technology medium or information system, shall be sentenced to imprisonment and/or a pecuniary penalty of not less than AED 250,000 and not more than AED 500,000, the prosecution said.”
In the UAE, there is a police section that specialises in social networking crimes. For any incident, you will have to deal with the Cyber Crime and Electronic Evidence Department of the Dubai Police General Criminal Evidence Department.
Cyber-crime and social networking in Dubai
Many social media users think they have complete freedom of speech and defamation. They forget that the UAE makes it a point to regulate social networking activities and anyone who breaks the laws will face heavy penalties.
In case of violation of any of the laws governing social networks, the penalty can be up to AED 1 million or even a prison sentence.
These regulations have been put in place to ensure the security and privacy of users throughout the country.
The UAE’s cybercrime laws play an important role in ensuring safe communication on all types of social networks.
If you are a victim of cybercrime, you can report it on
- The eCrime website set up by the Dubai Police,
- The Aman service of the Abu Dhabi Police or the “My Safe Society” application launched by the UAE Federal Prosecution Service.
Cybercrimes can also be reported to the nearest police station or by dialing 999.
The government has also published “10 rules of good conduct on social networks”, which can be found HERE!
Dubai is a multicultural society with many nationalities from all over the world. Each one arrives with their own knowledge and customs, sometimes completely different from those of the Emirates.
However, the Emirates have been able to adapt and establish a regulatory framework that allows everyone to live in peace and harmony.