Foreign Office Issues Dubai Social Media Advice

As the popularity of holidays to Dubai and other United Arab Emirates destinations grow, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued new advice to travellers regarding the use of social media.

In the UAE it is an offence to criticise any person or company publicly. This includes social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. 

It is also an offence to be disrespectful, scorn, mock or laugh at the country and/or its authorities.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said, "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.”

People from all corners of the globe have fallen foul of these laws, finding themselves either detained, prosecuted and even convicted for posting comments.

Following the incident of the Emirates flight EK521 back in early August, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority advised visitors to the country that posting images of the crash were breaking the law - a spokesperson warned: “Sharing such images and videos is considered to be irresponsible and disrespectful to the victims, and is punishable under UAE law.”

The FCO’s comprehensive website has the very latest, up-to-date travel information and it is advisable that anyone travelling to the UAE takes a moment to familiarise themselves with the advice. 

The site has an in-depth section covering laws and customs in the UAE. Visitors should honour traditions, customs and laws at all times, and bear in mind that many things that are legal in the UK are not in the UAE. Failure to adhere to their laws could result in serious consequences, including jail.