UAE issues law on regulating media in the country

The decree covers permits for social media ads, age restriction on movies, media standards and compliance

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Published: Mon 18 Dec 2023, 5:10 PM

Last updated: Tue 19 Dec 2023, 9:23 AM

The UAE Government has issued a federal decree on regulating the media — covering individuals, organisations, media outlets, and free zones in the country. It allows individuals and legal entities to own media institutions and outlets in accordance with specific regulations and conditions.

What are media activities?

As per the law, media activities include production, circulation, printing and publishing media content. It also encompasses audio, video and digital broadcasting, at a cost or free of charge.

The law pertains to the issuance and oversight of licences and permits for executing these media activities.

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The law also organises the authorities of UAE Media Council and the local government entities concerned with regulating media affairs.

Compliance

As per the decree, all media individuals and institutions operating within the UAE are required to comply with the national standards for media content, most notably:

- Divine respect, Islamic beliefs, all religions and other beliefs

- Respect the country's sovereignty, symbols and institutions, and the supreme interests of the UAE and its society

- Respect the directions and policies of the country on the local and international levels

- Avoid any adverse impact on the UAE’s foreign relations

- Respect the culture and civilization, national identity and values of the society

In addition, the media outlets and individuals are required not to:

- Disseminate or circulate information that offend national unity or social cohesion

- Incite violence, hatred or propagate a spirit of discord among the members of society

- Show irresponsible use of the UAE’s legal and economic system

- Disrespect privacy rules and individuals' private lives

- Publish, broadcast or circulate rumours, false and misleading news or any matter that may constitute instigation to commit crimes

Permits for cinema, books, video games

As per the decree, the UAE Media Council is responsible for issuing permits for the screening of cinematographic and other creative production. In addition to defining the classifications of the Media Content Rating System for prints and creative productions, including books, video games and cinematic production, it will also be responsible for determining the age groups suitable to view media and entertainment content.

The Council also issues permits to individuals providing advertising or media content on social media and other modern technical means, at a cost or free of charge.

The decree mandates that licensed or authorised individuals and media outlets be subject to oversight and supervision by the competent authority. It allows the Council to conduct surveillance and inspection of persons, outlets and media institutions, including free zones.

Intellectual property

According to the law, the UAE Media Council, in coordination with the competent authorities will promote the protection of intellectual property among individuals, establishments and media institutions in the UAE.

Timeline

The decree states that individuals and media outlets under this law have a twelve-month period to adjust their situation in accordance with its provisions, extendable by a Cabinet decision.

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