Emirati gets jail for swearing on Instagram
Ras Al Khaimah - The court found the accused guilty of swearing and using abusive language
The Misdemeanour Court in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has sentenced an Emirati young man to one month in jail for insulting another compatriot.
The court found the accused guilty of swearing and using abusive language on one of the top social networking platform (Instagram).
Court records show that the plaintiff, an Emirati young man, approached the RAK public prosecution and lodged a complaint against the defendant.
In his complaint, he accused the suspect of insulting and swearing at him using abusive language.
He attached a photo copy of his Instagram account with the insults displayed, and handed over his smart device for technical verification.
Investigations show that the two young men, plaintiff and defendant, had long disputes before.
The defendant proved to have insulted the plaintiff in his Instagram account, and that's why the latter resorted to the public prosecution for complaint.
The case was moved to the RAK Misdemeanour Court which found the accused guilty and gave the earlier ruling.
Mohammed Fawzi, a lawyer, told Khaleej Times that social media is certainly a great thing, but is also a uniquely effective breeding ground for potentially libelous statements.
"Many people have learned (to their dismay) that the internet allows people to speak their mind almost too easily. The internet is chock-full of interesting web sites where someone could intentionally or accidentally leave a potentially defamatory comment or post."
There are two main types of defamation: libel, or written defamation, and slander, or verbal defamation, he explained. "When a potentially defamatory statement is made online or through social media that involves the written (or "posted") word, and so it is considered libel."
While some web sites screen posts for inflammatory or illegal content, the screening systems are not geared to examine every post for defamatory content, and "so many defamatory postings end up online."
Warning, he said everybody should be careful about what they said, write or post about others on social media. "One may land in jail for few words he might think are simple or hurt no one."