Dubai: A Dubai court on Wednesday fined a Pakistani steward Dh20,000 for misusing social media and defaming Emirates airline by posting derogatory photos of animals boarding a plane and airhostesses with animal faces.
Emirates airline is said to have discovered the images in which the national carrier was reportedly mocked at on the Facebook account of one of its staff members in March.
The airliner lodged a police complaint against the steward for allegedly slandering Emirates airline’s reputation on Facebook.
According to records, the steward had created a bogus profile on Facebook and posted photos of sheep, cows and other animals walking in and out of a plane. He reportedly posted Photoshopped images of flight attendants in official outfits but with faces of animals.
The steward was arrested from his residence following an investigation by Dubai Police’s Cybercrime Section. When questioned by the police, the steward refuted the accusations. He claimed that he had utmost respect for Emirates and would never do anything to harm its reputation or land himself in trouble. He also claimed a hacker had created the bogus Facebook account.
Prosecutors accused him of misusing social media to deride his workplace.
According to the charges, prosecutors said the Pakistani suspect derided Emirates by posting photos and videos of slanderous and offensive content on Facebook.
The suspect had appeared before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court and pleaded not guilty in October 2018. He had insisted that the Facebook account did not belong to him.
An airline security official, however, testified that the suspect had smeared the national carrier’s reputation on Facebook from his work ID.
“In one of the photos, he posted the image of an EK work ID. When we checked the bar code of that ID in our system, it turned out to be one of our staff [the suspect]. The Facebook account that had the images bore his name,” the official told prosecutors.
The case is now in the appeals court, with the next hearing slated for February.