“Malicious destabilizing rumors”: No fines for negative comments on Dubai’s economy


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) on Sunday debunked rumours that individuals and companies are being fined for making negative comments about Dubai’s economy.

In a statement on Sunday, the DED clarified that no such action has been taken and emphasised that no government entity is authorised to act against expressing such opinions nor is any violation involved in such comments.

“In response to enquiries on whether individuals or companies are being penalised for negative comments or opinion on the economic situation, the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai has clarified that no such action has been taken, and that no government entity is empowered to act against expressing such opinions nor any violation involved in such comments,” it stated.

In recent weeks, rumours of men in a kandoura (local attire for men) fining people at metro stations for saying something negative about Dubai or for saying they are unhappy while in Dubai have been circulated on social media. Other rumours pertained to businessmen being penalised after saying that business was down.

The DED has called upon the public to source their information on the national economy and overall commercial activity from relevant authorities. It also urged the public not to pay attention to unconfirmed reports and hearsay.

“The DED confirmed that Dubai, under the leadership of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice- President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, enjoys the trust of local, regional and international businessmen, investors and companies, which is reflected in the emirate’s growth across key indicators such as foreign direct investment, gross domestic product, and the number of commercial licenses issued,” the statement said.

The business community has also positively responded to the DED’s move to clear the air and allay public fears. Neelesh Bhatnagar, Chairman of Emax Electronics, said: “I had heard the rumors too and I think the Dubai government has taken a very proactive standing in quashing this rumor and building the confidence of the public.”

Rizwan Sajan, founder Chairman of Danube Group, said although he never believed in these rumors, he was glad the government had taken this stance of clearing the air. “I have always been very optimistic and positive about Dubai and knew there was no basis for such malicious rumors. The government has always given expatriates the freedom of expression. However, by making a public statement, the government has taken a very positive and bold step to put an end to such mindless gossip.”

“This is a lesson to those who were involved in spreading such malicious destabilizing rumors. I am happy that the government was quick to respond and quash such silly rumors,” Surinder Singh Kandhari, said Chairman of Al Dobowi Group, lauding the Dubai government in taking such a bold step in boosting public morale.

Amitava Ghoshal, CEO of Avivo Group, also said the Dubai government’s efforts at allaying public fears on baseless rumors was laudable. “This step serves to build confidence of the business community and society in general and goes to show the high standards of transparency and intent of the government.”

The residents could not point to any specific source of the origins of these posts. One Filipino resident M.G. said, “My friend was fined, not me.” But M.G.’s friend, who was allegedly fined, said she just based it on another Facebook post.