Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Wednesday, 17 June 2015

WhatsApp Swears Could Land You £43,000 Fine (In UAE, That Is)

WhatsApp Swears Could Land You £43,000 Fine (In UAE, That Is)

The Debrief: Dubai and Abu Dhabi are both sold as fun playgrounds for adults but what’s a playground without swearing!

You’ll hear loads about holidays to Abu Dhabi and Dubai being so great. The air con! The swimming pools! The unbridled luxury! The big roads where you can drive fast cars, the synthetic islands made from reclaimed sand put into the shape of countries that rich people can buy and live on! The social conservatism! Uh – what? Well, you’ve got to wonder about a country that will potentially fine a man Dh250,000 (£43,000) for swearing on WhatsApp.

How on earth did this happen? Well, a man swore at a colleague over WhatsApp and was fined Dh3,000 (£522) for it. But this sentence was overturned by the supreme court as they felt it was too lenient. So they retried him with a mind to hand down the bigger fine.

The exact words used in the message aren’t clear, but they were ‘insulting’, reports 7DaysUAE, and so break a law against online verbal insults passed last October.

We get that online bullying and trolling is a real problem, but this sort of fine (oh, and deportation for foreigners) simply for the charge of swearing online is a bit of an overreaction, don’t you think?

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: FFS News, UAE