Punishment for Spreading Rumours under UAE Cyber Crime Law. False information Law | Fake News Law
Federal Law No. 5 of 2012, Federal Law No. 12 of 2016, and the Electronic Media Regulation of 2018 governs issue of transparency and spreading false information on social media. UAE authorities fasten down rumours and warns UAE residents about the gravity of spreading rumours. In addition, they have adopted measures to combat the same by public awareness campaign and implementing course curriculum educating students about false news in digital era.
These laws are intended to regulate and impose severe punishment on those who are rumourmongers and found guilty of circulating fake news within UAE. The above law pertains to impose sanctions to cyber-crime. Any breach of privacy, illegal access to information or misuse of information can be defined as a cyber-crime in the UAE. In addition, these laws govern offenses such as sharing and posting online content that violates the privacy of others, insulting the symbols of the state and religions, calling for overthrowing the government of the UAE, and disseminating hate speech and inciting violence.
Specific provisions of the law impose the following sanctions:
Article 21 of Federal law No. 5 of 2012 imposed imprisonment of at least six months and a fine between 150,000 UAE dirhams and 500,000 UAE dirhams or either of these two penalties to whoever uses a computer network, electronic information system, or any tools of information technology to invade the privacy of another person. In addition, the same provision enhances the penalty to a period of imprisonment of at least one year and a fine between 250,000 UAE dirhams and 500,000 UAE dirhams or either of these two penalties when a person uses an electronic information system or any information technology means to alter a record, photo, or scene for the purpose of insulting, offending, attacking, or invading another person’s privacy.
Article 24 of Federal law No. 5 of 2012 punished by imprisonment and a fine between 500,000 UAE dirhams and one million UAE dirhams whoever establishes, administers, and runs a website or publishes on a computer network or any method of information technology online content promoting rioting, hatred, racism, sectarianism, or damage to the national unity or social peace or disturbance of the public order and public morals.
Article 28 of Federal law No. 5 of 2012 imposed imprisonment and a fine not to exceed one million UAE dirhams whoever establishes, manages, or runs a website or uses information on a computer network or any means of information technology to transmit information, news, or cartoon drawings or any other pictures for the purpose of endangering the national security and the higher interests of the State or to disturb the public order.
Article 29 of Federal law No. 5 of 2012 punished by imprisonment and a fine not exceeding one million UAE dirhams whoever publishes information, news, statements, or rumours on a website or any computer network or by any means of information technology to damage the reputation, prestige, or stature of the State or any of its institutions or its president, vice-president, any of the rulers of the Emirates, their crown princes, the State’s flag, the national peace, the Emirates’ coat of arms, the national anthem or any of the national symbols.
Article 30 Federal law No. 5 of 2012 sanctioned life imprisonment whoever establishes, manages, or runs a website, or publishes information on a computer network or by means of information technology to overthrow the State, change or seize its ruling system, or violate the country’s constitution or laws or oppose the basic principles that constitute the foundations of the State’s ruling system
Article 38 and 39 of Federal law No. 5 of 2012 imposed term of imprisonment whoever publishes online any incorrect, inaccurate, or misleading information that damages the interests of the State or tarnishes its reputation, prestige, or stature or any person who fails to remove or block access to illicit content after receiving a notice from the federal authorities.
Federal Law No. 12 of 2016 imposed a term of imprisonment and fine between 500,000 UAE dirhams and two million UAE dirhams to whoever uses a fraudulent IP address by using a false mailing address or a third-party address or by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery.
Finally, Electronic Media Regulation of 2018 regulates information on social media to provide a responsible content that does not violate the privacy of individuals and protects society. This legislation provides a mandate for certain activities to obtain license issued by National Media Council.