The debate on whether tourists should follow local customs or laws is ongoing. The legal principle about how you can't use ignorance of the law as an excuse holds true in many countries. Especially when it comes to the new cybercrime laws of the United Arab Emirates.
Federal Decree-Law No. 34 of 2021 rolled out on January 2, 2022. This Combatting Rumors and Cybercrimes law was an amendment of Federal Law No. 5 of 2012. It’s the main legislation used to deal with offenses related to social media.
Consultant Dr. Ibrahim Al Banna said the law mirrors the UAE's commitment to online safety. Social media users must be mindful of their actions online. They could face legal consequences otherwise.
It’s a harsh lesson several workers from the Philippines learned the hard way. Five workers were allegedly arrested for posting on Tik Tok. The said video reportedly violated UAE cybercrimes law.
Al Banna stated it’s vital that everyone understands and follows these laws. He added that it will ensure people’s social media presence is in line with the legal requirements of the UAE.
The amended social media law has harsher penalties for libel and online defamation. It also expanded the scope of online harassment and cybercrimes. There are now heavier sanctions against cyberbullying. The new law also puts more focus on data protection and privacy. The government is also keeping a close watch on influencer marketing. They're also focused on social media advertising. These sectors will be accountable for all their posts.
Legal experts are pointing out that the UAE cybercrime law covers a lot of cases. These can run from minor crimes to serious ones. One member of the law firm explained how most people indulge in bad behavior online. They insult people or post racist content. The new laws will make sure this doesn’t happen.
So what social media mistakes should individuals in the UAE be mindful of? One is hate speech, slander, and insults. Making threatening remarks or derogatory slurs is unacceptable. So is blasphemy. An individual guilty of these actions can face six months’ jail time.
Violating someone’s privacy can also land you in hot water. Taking a video or photo of someone without their permission is a crime in the UAE. Spreading rumors is also a crime under the new law. Many people are unaware of this. One expert says that sharing news without verifying its source could be a crime. Spreading rumors that incite hate or violence is also considered a serious offense. Advertising medical products is also covered in the new cybercrime law. But this is only for ads without a permit.