The UK Government Have Created Special Guidelines For Social Media Users In Dubai!

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It makes sense before travelling or moving to another country, to familiarise yourself with the culture and customs of your destination. This is logical not only to avoid getting yourself into dodgy situations, but also out of respect for another country and its people.

Britain’s Foreign Office has published guidelines relating to the use of social media in the Emirates.

Guidelines in full here

Posting material (including videos and photographs) online that are critical of companies or individuals, or related to incidents in the UAE, or appearing to abuse/ridicule the country or its authorities may be considered a crime punishable under UAE law. There have been cases of individuals being detained, prosecuted and/or convicted for posting this type of material.

British Foreign Office

Laws vs. responsibility

Reactions have been split between those who cry out for freedom of speech and those who defend the nature of the laws of a land.

While freedom of speech has been hotly debated in the media in recent years, so too has been the reaction from governments. It’s easy to quickly point the finger and make claim that governments are repressive, but every country has laws that reflect its nature, or were simply relevant to a specific timeframe.

Some are crazier than others. For example, in the UK, under the Metropolitan Police Act of 1839, one cannot be drunk in a pub, is prohibited from sliding on ice or snow and from carrying a plank of wood in the street.  

Don’t even get us started on the Salmon Act of 1986… 

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It's perfectly reasonable to expect that there are laws over defamation and slander of another human being or entity

While it’s frustrating to be told what we can and can’t say, whether we work for media outlets, or simply tweet from the comfort of our own homes, it’s inevitable that depending on where we are in the world, restrictions and freedoms regarding the 'post' button will vary. Social media is a relatively new concept that has seemed to conquer the world. It's perfectly reasonable, irrespective of where you are in the world, and whether you are online are not, to expect that there are laws over defamation and slander. 

It’s unrealistic to believe that every government can, and will, apply the same rules and regulations. 

While we fully support freedom of speech, we understand that it’s also up to individual users to determine between insightfulness and downright offensiveness.

For those who often write confrontational or controversial comments, if you’re in a country where you know your words could cause some kind of impact, rather than defending your content under a banner of freedom of speech, ask yourself whether what you want to say is necessary… or whether your time could be better spent by making a cuppa tea…. And then go make some tea regardless.

Just FYI, pics of food and cats will always make the world a better place, in our book anyway. 

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This could be us but you keep trollin'

Written By

Aneesa Masood

Aneesa is a relative newbie in Dubai, having bounced around the Middle East and settling in our Emirate earlier this year. When not posting, liking and filtering food pictures, she’s most likely eating a burger or hunting the perfect butter chicken. She also likes cats. A lot.

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