Dubai to Impose Curbs on Outdoor Advertising

Dubai’s main roads will be stripped off advertisement hoardings larger than 10x30 metres.

Thenew standards for outdoor advertising are being framed by Dubai Municipality.

Billboards, banners and other outdoor advertisements in the emirate will also have to prominently contain Arabic text and conform to the cultural and religious norms of the country, a senior official told Khaleej Times.

Head of Advertising Mona Khamis said the civic body, which issues permits for outdoor ads and monitors them, had finalised the draft of a new manual to further regulate the industry.

The manual, awaiting approval from higher authorities, stipulates the technical specifications and ethical norms for outdoor ads.

According to the new manual, Khamis said, the maximum size allowed for hoardings on main roads and streets would be 10x30metres. “We are trying to remove all those ugly huge ads on scaffoldings,” Khamis said.

However, bigger hoardings will be allowed in locations such as desert sites and open spaces. The number of rooftop advertisements will be restricted to two per building and adequate space will have to be kept in between them.

Billboard sizes, the distance between them, specifications for lighting, sensors, letter sizes are also covered in the new manual.

“It will be mandatory to carry Arabic text in a prominent way in all the outdoor ads and they have to obey our traditional, cultural and religious values in the artwork, especially when portraying women,” said Khamis.

Violators will be given warnings, followed by fines up to Dhs5,000. “Fines will double if they do not comply with the rules and repeat the violations.”

The official said the the new rules aimed to curb the proliferation of ads that hampered the general appearance of the city’s streets.

“The Planning Department has a specific urban focus for Dubai,” Khamis said. “We had that vision in mind when we drafted the new regulations for the outdoor advertisements. But we also want to create a balance between customer demands and the multinational environment in the Arabic city.”

On the sidelines of 12th Sign and Graphic Imaging Middle East Exhibition being held in Dubai, Khamis noted that the UAE accounted for 35.4 per cent of the total advertising expenditure in the GCC, amounting to $4.1 billion in 2009.

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