Crime is a crime but if it becomes public, in UAE it is not

Over the two days two events followed one another to leave us confused. Like having tasted sweet only to bite the bitter kernel inside a fruit later.

To recap: A video of an Emirati beating up an Asian driver went viral. That obviously was a fact that could have been wished away or buried in an avalance of good public relations in the United Arab Emirates, had not a bystander recorded the incident and posted it on online.

The initial reaction was positive, pleasantly, with fellow compatriots unapproving of such an act, especially in the times of Ramadan, the Holy Month. Justice served.

And then came the backhanded rap on the wrist of the man who helped start it, only to be told he had no business of recording the crime. Turns out, according to the version of  the ‘alleged’ culprit’s lawyer, recording a crime is a crime in itself, according to UAE laws.

The witness now faces jail. The way he explained sounds plausible on first impression. It is the duty of the court to announce guilty or not but such footage bias the readers/viewers into believing only one side of the story. What if the Emirati was assaulted first? It did not in this case, but possible? Plausible.

The fellow Emiratis who spoke then are yet to comment on the development at this time.

But if you see merit in the argument that witnesses must come forward to report and testify in person rather than filming it, I wonder what the role of the media is.

To give a most recent example, a local politician in Kolkata from the Indian state of Bengal, on camera, exhorted his supporters to set the houses ablaze of their rival politicians and their respective fans. A drastic, inflammatory statement punishable under Indian law.

Beyond the craziness of such statement that followed, should the media be also held responsible on the charge of fanning emotions leading to counter violence possibly from those affronted?

Hopefully there is enlightenment around the corner. Hopefully this is just a blip. Hopefully there is more sweet aftertaste yet to come.

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