Violators can also be jailed for a year
Under the UAE’s new Cybercrime Law, posting and sharing false news and rumors on social media can result in a minimum fine of Dh 100,000 and a one-year prison sentence.
The penalty increases to two years in prison and a minimum fine of 200,000 Dh if the crime was committed during pandemics, emergencies and crises.
Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2021 on Combating Cybercrime, which entered into force on January 2, 2022, covers new areas of the Internet, making major changes to Federal Law 5 of 2012.
“Under the new provision, online users who share incorrect information are also part of the crime, not just the publisher. Now everyone has a responsibility to confirm the information they receive before sharing it or risking imprisonment, ”said Ghassan El Daye, Partner and Middle East Litigation Manager at Charles Russell Speechlys.
“This is important because we know how attractive fake news tends to be for readers to share without confirming its authenticity, which can unintentionally cause panic. “
For the first time, the law also defines the term “electronic robot”, with section 54 stipulating that the use or modification of electronic robots to share, re-share or disseminate false news in the country can inflict on the offender a prison sentence of two years or a fine of at least 100,000 Dh up to one million, or both.
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Violators can face up to one year in prison or a fine ranging from 30,000 to 300,000 Dh, or both, if they publish information that does not meet the criteria for media content.
The new law is part of the larger package of legislative reforms announced on Saturday for the next 50 years.
The new reforms aim to develop the legislative structure of various sectors, including investment, commerce and industry, corporations, residence, online security and social affairs.