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Any activity in libel, slander, and defamation directed to any individual on all types of public media is considered a criminal offence. Article 373 of the Federal Law No.3 of 1987 of UAE on the issuance of the Penal Code (the 'Penal Law') states that:

  • Detention for a period not exceeding one (1) year or a fine of up to AED10,000 for defaming another person for no apparent reason;
  • Detention for a period not exceeding two (2) years and/or a fine of up to AED20,000 for defaming a public official or a person who is in charge of a public service; and
  • An aggravated case shall be considered should these defaming acts be published in any newspaper or printed media.
  • Defamation, discrimination and hatred in the workplace

Letter, memos, and any other type of communication containing words of abuse, discrimination or improper personal, sexual, and religious comments might be susceptible to file a criminal complaint. The latter manifests in the United Arab Emirates Federal Decree-Law No.2 of 2015 on Combating Discrimination and Hatred. Article 6 states that any form of discrimination is punishable by imprisonment for not less than five (5) years and by a fine of up to AED 1,000,000.

Defamation in social media and other electronic means in UAE

Nowadays, online defamation statements are not strange. The vast amount of social media platforms and the ease in opening an account is helping criminals, treacherous competitors, and adversaries spread false messages quickly that might impact the victim's reputation, relationships and finance. Consequently, the United Arab Emirates Federal Decree-Law No.5 of 2012 on Combating Cybercrimes considers crime insults or accusations to another person using a computer network or an information technology means. The latter includes popular social media platforms such as Facebook or TikTok and communications platforms such as Whatsapp, Telegram, and any other online platform, including forums, blogs, among others.

Online defamation and public relationship

A photo can destroy a career. Meanwhile, a tweet can impact a whole market or an entire business, and a false statement can ruin families. Information goes so fast, and modern lives are too busy that it often happens that someone learns about new information about us first than we do. Failure to respond can cause a crisis that could otherwise be avoided. Therefore, to protect ourselves from uncomfortable situations derived from defamation cases, we must monitor our business brands frequently and plan reaction strategies if an undesirable event occurs.

Read our comparative article on defamation in Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

If you feel like you have fallen victim to defamation whereby the abuser intentionally tries to damage your name, competitiveness, reputation, or finances or need help to constantly monitor your brand reputation, visit our Adjustment Services microsite. Contact us to speak with our legal Adjustment consultant today. We can help you navigate the options you have from a Legal and a Public Relationship point of view.

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