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UAE: Planning an April Fool's joke? Authorities issue warning

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on April 1, 2021
Alamy Image (For illustrative purposes only)

UAE authorities warn people against spreading lies, rumours and fake news to prank others

Thinking of pulling off an April Fool’s Day prank on your friends, colleagues or on social media? Don’t. It could land you in jail for one year, UAE authorities warned.

“Whoever deliberately spreads false news, fake information or rumours, or circulates provocative propaganda that would disturb public security or cause alarm among people, or harm the public interest, shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of not less than a year in accordance with Article 198 of the Federal Penal Code,” the UAE Public Prosecution posted on Twitter on April 1 to warn people who tend to spread lies, rumours and fake news to prank others.

April Fools’ Day—celebrated on April 1 each year — involves playing hoaxes pranks, or practical jokes on others, often yelling “April Fool” at the end to clue in the subject of the prank.

However, it could land you in serious trouble in the UAE where spreading fake information and rumours is a crime punishable by law.

Origins of April Fools’ Day

According to history.com, some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582 etc, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1.

People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

author

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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