January 27, 2021

When travelling abroad, it is important to assume that laws that hold in your home country may mean nothing in the foreign land. To stay within legal constraints and enjoy your freedom and safety, it is important to know the laws of the land you are visiting. Some of these laws are communications laws.

Communications laws regulate what information is allowed on electronic channels like TVs, radios, phones, and the internet. They also regulate how information like this is supposed to be passed across. Breaching these laws may attract serious penalties. Here are a few things to note.

Freedom Of Speech

Now, depending on your home country, what you think freedom of speech is may differ from what is obtainable in the foreign country you travelled to. In some countries, for example, speaking against the government regime may bring you face-to-face with the law.

Do your research to figure out the government’s policies. You may also ask the locals. When unsure, just keep quiet and go about your own business. You don’t have to share your opinions about the situation in the country you are visiting. Definitely 

Internet Laws

Whether you are operating as a business or as an internet user in a foreign land, you may find out that the laws here are different from your home country.

For example, in the EU law, there is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that guides and regulates what personal data is accessible to businesses and what kind of such personal data can be transferred outside the EU. This helps protect the privacy and personal data of the residents of EU countries.

Compare this to China, where some applications and internet services are completely banned from operating legally in the country. Instead of some global social media services you probably use in your home country, they have local alternatives instead.

Now, if your business requires the personal data of EU residents or the third party integration of services banned in China, this may affect how you do business or get you in trouble if you don’t pay proper attention.

Copyright Laws

When sending and receiving information in a foreign country, make sure you adhere to their copyright laws. Generally, when dealing with intellectual properties that are not your original works, it is safe to know what laws govern the use of such works.

Getting into legal troubles because of a fun time using a “random” picture or music isn’t worth the thrill of the moment. When using original works belonging to others, you want to make sure that you are using them under the fair use doctrine, which allows you to use such works in a limited way and under specific circumstances.

News And Media

When interacting with and spreading random information you found on the news or heard on the street, be careful because it can be punishable by the law. In some countries, fake news and “hate speech” may attract fines, sentences, or even capital punishment.

Also, you may need to go on the radio or TV for business purposes, so you should know that not all types of words, phrases or images are considered media-worthy. Find out what you should stay away from, especially when going live. Unlike pre-recorded sessions which may be carefully edited, live sessions present you to the general public without any filter.

Knowing what information to pass around and what to stay off can save you a lot of stress explaining your motive to the authorities.

How To Stay Within The Law

Let us face it – it isn’t easy knowing all the laws you need to keep in mind. For an everyday tourist, you may just need to keep off controversial issues and just live your life. If you are a businessperson, you may have no choice but to pass information out, thereby coming in contact with these laws more often.

This is where Communications Law Attorneys come in. These attorneys are trained to help their clients stay within the rules and regulations of the country they operate in without running into problems.

Generally, a solid business should work with a law firm. If the law firm you work with also covers the communication laws, it would be of great benefit to you. When it comes to staying within the law, always remember it is better to pay an attorney than pay for your sins.