For some Filipinos, cursing or saying bad words is part of their speech! Even though for some, saying these things is just a figurative expression and not out of anger or frustration towards other people and did not mean to inflict an insult.
Here in the Philippines, laws intended to punish someone who curses don’t exist and even the President itself curses a lot in public. However, you can sue someone who insults you, calls you profane or bad words but sueing someone for this cause a lot of your time, money and effort. At the end of the day, if the damage is not that degrading we let it pass. That’s in the Philippines.
However, if you are in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) you should be careful with your mouth. Because insulting someone, calling them silly or stupid or dropping that “F-Word” can land you in jail and make you pay hefty fines.
Two example of this violation happens a few months ago when a man called a woman “fool” in WhatsApp message. The woman filed a case and the man fined with Dh20,000. Another case happens in a football match in Sharjah when a man called his co-worker ‘silly’ and now he’s on trial.
Insult, Libel, Cursing is A No-No in UAE!
Mahmoud Azab, lawyer and consultant at Al Wasl International Group, explained that criminal punishments for insults differ depending on whether these were delivered “directly or face-to-face” or via online channels and social media.
Direct insult or libel is punishable under federal penal code but if it happens in social media or mobile applications, it will be punishable under cybercrime laws that lead to heavier sentences or fines.
Under Article 373 of the federal penal code, it is stated that anyone who “casts another, by any publicity means, with any statement that affects his honor or dignity” shall be sentenced to a jail term not exceeding a year and a fine of up to Dh10,000. Penalties are higher if the insult has been directed to a public official or has affected families.
Offensive language delivered via online platforms is considered a cybercrime and shall be punishable by “imprisonment and a fine not less than Dh250,000 and not in excess of Dh500,000”.
Azab added that as long as a person was offended by an insult or an obscene gesture, it would be considered as a violation of the law.