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The Defamation Law in the UAE Essay

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Updated: May 18th, 2020

Alex Malouf’s article on dos and don’ts on defamation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is very informative. It specifically points out the inherent weaknesses in the UAE’s defamation law. Even though I support the clause that forbids individuals from taking other people’s photos without their consent, all other clauses on defamation are somewhat retrogressive in the 21st century. The clause that criminalises verbal abuses or gestures even in the absence of a witness is in bad taste. Conventionally, suspects should remain innocent until proven guilty through the due process of the law, which demands proof beyond any reasonable doubt before convicting anyone.

Unfortunately, the defamation laws in the UAE are one-sided, as they favour the accuser. For instance, the burden of proof is solely the work of the accused, as one has to prove that the allegations levelled against him/her are false. Sadly, truth is not a guarantee that the accused will be vindicated. Similarly, the defamation law impede the gains of social media as all Internet platforms are considered as public forums and so one can be sued for posting anything that borders on defamation. The defamation law should be amended to accommodate the diversity of the UAE.

The case of the Canadian woman defaming the Jumeirah International Kindergarten raises two critical questions concerning defamation in Dubai. The first question touches on whether the Canadian woman committed defamation by fabricating the incidence. The second question explores whether the Canadian woman would have committed defamation by sending emails to other parents with kids in the kindergarten if the incidence were true.

In the first case, the Canadian woman is guilty of defamation and the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours acted appropriately by charging her with defamation because she fabricated the story. Her intentions were malicious, hence criminal because she sought to cause harm to the kindergarten. In the second case, the accused would still be guilty as the right channel of handing such an incidence is to report to the police for them to take the appropriate actions within the stipulations of the law. As stipulated in the defamation law, truth alone is not a guaranteed defence in a court of law if the content can potentially damage the defamed party. Therefore, even if the incidence were true and the accused saw her son being hit as alleged, that truth alone could not vindicate her because her action of sending slanderous emails amounts to defamation.

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1. IvyPanda. "The Defamation Law in the UAE." May 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-defamation-law-in-the-uae/.


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IvyPanda. "The Defamation Law in the UAE." May 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-defamation-law-in-the-uae/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Defamation Law in the UAE." May 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-defamation-law-in-the-uae/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Defamation Law in the UAE'. 18 May.

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