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Warning against spreading rumours online

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on August 8, 2017

People should desist from posting false information on social media, or comments that could hurt others; the official warned that those who did were risking being punished under the cyber crime law

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has issued fresh warning about the dangers of spreading rumours and false news on social media sites. Besides being a violation of the cyber laws, it could create confusion and panic among the community, the officials warned.

Counselor Hamad Al Dhaheri, from the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, said information posted by some people on social network sites through comments, pictures or videos sometimes carry inaccurate or malicious content and lies that breach public security or harm public interest. "Social networking sites may have many messages, but some of them are misleading and lack credibility and accuracy," he said.

"Some of the messages and news circulated by smartphones and social networks lack accuracy and credibility, which is a bad thing."

Al Dhaheri made the comments during a recent 'Our Councils' meeting, aimed at spreading awareness about the legal culture in the community. "Spreading rumours on social media also creates panic and confusion among the public," said Al Dhaheri. "People should desist from posting false information on social media, or comments that could hurt others."

The official warned that those who did were risking being punished under the cyber crime law. He also urged parents to educate their children on the safe ways of using the internet and social media and to monitor kids all time so they can be protected from cyber criminals and other negative elements. "It's important to educate children about the safe ways of using social media and the internet to protect them from online bullies and blackmailers.

"Children must also be taught about the dos and don'ts on social media and the cybercrime law, so they cannot post stuff that could land them into trouble with authorities."

Al Dhaheri said parents should strictly monitor what their children do online or on social media. "Also, they should have the ability to block some content which is undesired, harmful and of illegal behaviours."

According to UAE laws, violating internet laws including spreading false information or rumours online can be punished with imprisonment and a fine not exceeding Dh1 million.

Also, anyone using electronic medium with intent to defame or insult another person will also face imprisonment of not less than one year or a fine of not less than Dh250,000 or both.

Dr Salah Khamis Al Junaibi, director of institutional communication and international cooperation at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, said: "Through 'Our Councils' initiative, we focus on the spreading of awareness about issues that are of great interest to the society."

"The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department is keen on expanding its participation in the local councils across the emirate, to promote awareness among people on abiding by the law in order to achieve positive results within individuals and the society at large."


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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