Social media has been fast developing as a popular channel of communication in the UAE. There are many government and private organisations using Twitter to reach out to people and to spread awareness about their services and campaigns. The new initiative by the Dubai Courts is a good example of the need for transparency and public engagement that is critical for the legal system.
As The National reports today, the courts have launched a project that allows residents to have a monthly tour so they can be introduced to the UAE legal system. Participants will have the opportunity to meet judges and other court staff and ask them about the nature of their jobs and the challenges they face.
The initiative was welcomed by many people who tweeted their praise, describing the initiative as a means to ensure that effective communication exists between the government and the people.
This campaign must be part of a wider push for increased transparency. Such initiatives are important, as they can help to build trust in the system and increase people's awareness about the UAE's laws and regulations.
In June, Dubai Courts launched a Smart Court campaign that asked Dubai Government staff - as well as lawyers, experts and students of law - to send their suggestions on how to improve its service to the public through the court's "Nebras" smartphone application. The move was promoted using the slogan: "Your Suggestions Make the Future."
The courts should build on these positive initiatives and take them further, such as establishing a specialised department that actively responds to controversial court cases and explains them to the general public. Better communication will mean less misunderstanding and wrong assumptions.
The Dubai police provided a helpful example recently after the notorious road-rage case that involved a government official and an Indian driver that was recorded by a passer-by. The police's Twitter account responded quickly after the video began circulating on the social media. The police's quick response told the public that an action had been taken, helping avert the spread of misinformation.
This is why transparency is essential for any legal system. The UAE is no different. Everyone will benefit from more transparency and communication with the public.