UAE issues new media regulations


The UAE Government has issued a federal decree on regulating media activities in the country.

Its provisions apply to all individuals and establishments, including free zone entities that engage in any form of print, audio, visual or digital media activity.

The decree stresses on respect for religious beliefs, national symbols, institutions and policies as well as complying with privacy rules.

The UAE Media Council has been tasked with issuing permits to individuals providing advertising or content on social media and other modern means of technology, at a cost or free of charge.

It's also in charge of monitoring the content and conducting inspections.

  • As per the decree, media activities include the production, circulation, printing and publishing of media content. It also encompasses audio, video and digital broadcasting, at a cost or free of charge.
  • It covers all affairs pertaining to the issuance and oversight of licences and permits for the execution of media activities by individuals, establishments, and media outlets, covering radio and television broadcasting; cinema/movies and creative productions; newspapers and publications; digital and electronic media activities; book fairs; foreign publications; foreign media offices; printing, circulating and publishing media content; and aerial, ground, and maritime imaging operations.
  • All media individuals and institutions operating within the UAE are required to comply with the national standards for media content, most notably respecting the divine, and Islamic beliefs, as well as all other religions and beliefs; respecting the country's sovereignty, symbols and institutions, and the supreme interests of the UAE and its society; respecting the directions and policies of the country on the local and international levels; avoiding any actions that may have an adverse impact on the UAE’s foreign relations; and respecting the culture and civilisation, national identity and values of the UAE community.
  • In addition, media outlets and individuals must refrain from disseminating or circulating information that may offend or compromise national unity or social cohesion, incite violence, hatred or propagate a spirit of discord among society members, the UAE’s legal and economic system, ensuring justice and security are not exploited or abused; as well as respect privacy rules and individuals' private lives; refrain from publishing, broadcasting or circulating rumours, false and misleading news or the publication of any matter that may constitute instigation to commit crimes.
  • As per the decree, the UAE Media Council is responsible for issuing permits for the screening of cinematographic and other creative productions, and also defining the classifications of the Media Content Rating System for print and creative productions, including books, video games and cinematic production. The Council will also be responsible for determining the age groups suitable to view media and entertainment content.
  • The Council is also in charge of issuing 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 licenced 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.
  • According to the Decree-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.


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