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Combating coronavirus: Dubai top cop asks residents to report social media posts that mock rules

anjana@khaleejtimes.com Filed on April 13, 2020 | Last updated on April 13, 2020 at 02.57 pm
dubai police, fine warning, coronavirus, covid-19, mocking videos, social media, sanitisation
A deserted Shekh Zayed Road in Dubai during the sanitisation drive.

(Shihab/Khaleej Times)

Residents are also urged to report activities to the police.

A top Dubai cop has asked residents to report to authorities social media posts and videos that mock the UAE's coronavirus-related laws and regulations.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Colonel Saeed Al Hajri, head of cybercrime department at Dubai Police, said the law enforcement authorities are adopting a zero-tolerance policy towards the misuse of social media.

Al Hajri said people can report such videos to the e-crime department of Dubai Police or on the Dubai Police app. "Or you can call 901 if it is not an emergency. And your last resort is to call 999 and report the case. Police will immediately take action."

Al Hajri had earlier warned that people who publish videos mocking authorities and encouraging people to break 'Stay Home' rules will be named and shamed in the media.

"The numbers may be few. But their impact on the community is huge."

The official said such videos negatively impact police's efforts to implement laws.

Calling social media a "tool for rumours and misinformation" that has triggered conflicts in the Middle East, Al Hajri asked people to apply critical thinking before they share such videos. "You have to think whether it is right or is there anything wrong. What is the motive behind the person?"

On the contrary, Al Hajri said Dubai Police encourages people to use social media as a positive tool, for skill building and home fitness.

"But those who try to create chaos and destroy the status quo and our plans to protect the community will not be tolerated."

Al Hajri said violators of movement restrictions in Dubai will be given a single warning before they are fined. "Warnings will be issued only once for a category of violation because it is a process of creating awareness. And we have full trust in the community that they will follow rules and regulations."

Those who don't heed the warning will be fined. "First, we will give them a fine. If they repeat the offense a second time, they will be given a double fine. If that also don't work, we will refer them to public prosecution," said the official.

UAE Attorney general Dr. Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, has issued the updated Resolution No. 38 of 2020 on enforcement of penalties for violations following the Cabinet Resolution No. 17 of 2020 to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The resolution stipulates 15 fines starting from Dh1,000 for failing to wear medical masks indoors by only those individuals suffering from chronic diseases, and those showing cold and flu symptoms or failing to maintain social distancing.

A Dh50,000 fine will be imposed for non-compliance with home quarantine instructions and Dh5,000 fine for the executive in charge of managing a company or a facility that violates the sterilisation measures of public or private means of transportation.

A Dh3,000 fine for individuals violating the curfew set out during the National Disinfection Programme, and Dh1,000 fine for unnecessarily visiting health facilities.

author

Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a UAE-based journalist chasing global stories of conflict, migration and human rights. She has reported from the frontlines of the wars in Yemen and Syria and has extensively written on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh, Iraq and Europe. From interviewing Daesh militants to embedding with the UAE army in Yemen, and covering earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks and elections, she has come out scathe-free from the most dangerous conflict zones of the world. Riding on over 14 years of experience, Anjana currently is an Assistant Editor with Khaleej Times and leads the reporting team. She often speaks about women empowerment on her Facebook page that has 40,000 plus followers.





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