UAE authorities warn people against spreading lies, rumours and fake news to prank others
Thinking of pulling off an April Fool’s Day prank on your friends, colleagues or on social media? Don’t. It could land you in jail for one year, UAE authorities warned.
“Whoever deliberately spreads false news, fake information or rumours, or circulates provocative propaganda that would disturb public security or cause alarm among people, or harm the public interest, shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of not less than a year in accordance with Article 198 of the Federal Penal Code,” the UAE Public Prosecution posted on Twitter on April 1 to warn people who tend to spread lies, rumours and fake news to prank others.
April Fools’ Day—celebrated on April 1 each year — involves playing hoaxes pranks, or practical jokes on others, often yelling “April Fool” at the end to clue in the subject of the prank.
However, it could land you in serious trouble in the UAE where spreading fake information and rumours is a crime punishable by law.
Origins of April Fools’ Day
According to history.com, some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582 etc, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1.
People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.