Crime and Courts

Up to Dh500,000 fine in UAE for insulting posts on social media

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on October 14, 2020 | Last updated on October 15, 2020 at 06.15 am
social media hate, insulting comment, defamatory comment, Public Prosecution


Officials had released figures showing that they handled 512 cases of social media violations in 2019, compared to 357 in 2018.

Residents who post insulting and defamatory comments online face imprisonment and fines of up to Dh500,000, UAE prosecutors have warned. The penalty also applies to those who send such messages to fellow social media users.

In its latest public awareness post, the Federal Public Prosecution said: "The law imposes a penalty of imprisonment and/or a fine of between Dh250,000 to Dh500,000 on whoever posts insulting comments online or sends slanderous and defaming messages to others via the Internet.

"Article 20 of the Federal Law No. 5 2020 on combating cybercrimes stipulates that a person is subject to punishment if he/she carries out the crimes by using the Internet or any forms of information technology."

Public prosecutors in Abu Dhabi reported last year that the number of people being prosecuted for charges of social media abuse had significantly increased.

Officials had released figures showing that they handled 512 cases of social media violations in 2019, compared to 357 in 2018. About 392 such cases were registered in 2017.

Online harassment; extortion, threats and blackmail; publishing and spreading false information; encroaching on the privacy of others; posting and spreading insulting, abusive comments; posting fake ads and rumours; swearing, defamation and inciting others to commit crimes; and fraud were among the major violations.

Amer Al Ameri from the Abu Dhabi Public Prosecution had explained during a forum that social media abuse is the "deliberate expression or act of any person or entity that the average person considers to be insulting or prejudicial to the honour or dignity of that person or entity". It also involves committing online any others acts punishable by law such as posting images without permission and any use of technology which breaches someone else's privacy.


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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