Sharjah: The Sharjah Police have warned the public from falling prey to false rumours on social media and implored them to trust only official statements issued by UAE authorities.
A wave of unsubstantiated rumours on social networking sites alluding to safety and security concerns in the UAE vis-a-vis certain developments in the region have led the police to issue this call to the public.
In a recent statement, the police have warned the public not to interact with rumours and misinformation, images and news received via social networking sites, and not publish or retransmit them in any form to avoid legal accountability.
Major Ebrahim Meer Al Sarah, acting director of Media and Public Relation Department at Sharjah Police has urged the public, through Gulf News, to avoid believing any rumours posted on social media and if they hear any such news or rumours, to first confirm with the police about the truth behind them.
“Despite the police repeatedly calling on social media users to stop posting false information online‚ the number of hoaxes continue to grow on Facebook‚ Twitter‚ BlackBerry Messenger and WhatsApp,” Major Meer said.
Sharjah Police said they want to assure everyone that the UAE is a haven of security and safety and thanked the efforts of its leadership and its security forces, and the support and cooperation of members of society.
According to police, strong social media policies should be drafted to ensure effective and safe use of social media platforms.
The UAE has enough legal provisions to make social media users think twice before posting or reacting to risky content.
Care needs to be taken when posting pictures of others online, including via social media sites. The Cyber Crimes Law (Federal Law No. 5 of 2012) makes it an offence to use any means of IT to breach someone else’s privacy, including by taking pictures of others, or publishing or displaying those pictures. The UAE Penal Code (Federal Law No 3 of 1987) makes it an offence to transmit someone’s photograph without their consent. The Copyright Law (Federal Law No 7 of 2002 in Respect of Author Copyrights and Parallel Rights) states that, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary (and with limited exceptions), a person who takes a picture of another cannot distribute or publish such picture without the consent of the person appearing in the picture.
Privacy and confidentiality
The importance of the sanctity of the individual’s private life is recognised in a number of provisions of the UAE law. Disclosing secrets relating to someone’s private life, without that person’s consent, can attract liability under the Penal Code and the Cyber Crimes Law. Similarly, the disclosure of confidential information, such as information belonging to an employer, can also attract legal liability in the UAE.
The Penal Code makes it an offence to publish information that exposes another person to public hatred or contempt, or to make a false accusation which dishonours or discredits another person. The Cyber Crimes Law contains similar provisions that prohibit insulting others, or attributing to them conduct that would make them the subject of contempt.
Content contrary to morality, social cohesion, etc.
The Cyber Crimes Law makes it an offence to use any IT means for activities which are inconsistent with public morals and good conduct.