Online defamation and libel

7th May 2019

@S_Alnowais is the Twitter account of a user that acts towards Wilke in a criminal manner and through her column, called The National. The latter is paid and it is not a free press! It follows political agenda where there is a “red line” for reporters.

“Anyone who went expecting a free press was kidding themselves,” said Keach Hagey. (The New Republic)

Shireena Al Nowais is spreading rumours in about Wilke and in doing so, she is breaking the law of her own country. The law is called the “Cyber Crime Law”. With her ‘custom-tailored’ report on Wilke, which reads like a fictional story to people involved, and where time-travel is possible, she makes herself guilty of a Cyber Crime (Articles 20ff.), which the United Arab Emirates are keen to tighten up on.

“The UAE has very strict laws on activity carried out by individuals on the internet or in cyber space.” (Gulf Business)

Al Nowais claims ‘knowledge of Wilke’s case’, a statement that a Chief Prosecutor and two lawyers at Al Ain court confirm to be wrongful and, on top of that, even ‘illegal’.

“In the UAE defamation is a criminal offense.” (mondaq, by STA Law Firm)

The Law Firm further writes in their article that the UAE Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 (as amended) (“the Penal Code”) applies. Article 372, for example, handles publicity, which exposes the victim to public hatred or contempt. Article 373 sets out the situation, where the offender makes a false accusation that dishonors or discredits the victim in the public eye.

Evidently, and with reference to her article in ‘The National’, Al Nowais neither knows Wilke’s correct name, chronological facts nor the precise circumstances or details pertaining the case.

The law in the UAE is very clear on a person’s right to privacy, hence, she should refrain from using the evidently illegally obtained and unpixelated images and text elements, such as unabbreviated names, which make a person, in this case ‘Wilke’ an his mother, identifiable to the reader. The latter has never even been to the United Arab Emirates, and she is not connected to the case either.
This said, one can conclude that she acts as a journalist, catering for mere ‘sensationalism’ and, therefore, she brings journalism into disrepute.

#FakeNews #CyberCrime #UnEthical #Journalism