National Media Council orders pause in print distribution

Regular subscribers and large outlets are exempt

The UAE’s National Media Council, the body that governs the country’s media, has announced a temporary pause in the distribution of magazines, newspapers and marketing material from Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

Regular subscribers will still receive their copies, though, as will “large outlets in shopping centres”. The release, via WAM, the UAE government new agency, says: “Several people touching the same printed material has the potential to disseminate the virus.” It places particular emphasis on printed material in public places.

The whole announcement from WAM is:

The UAE National Media Council has decided to stop temporarily the distribution of all print newspapers, magazines and marketing material with effect from March 24, 2020.

Regular subscribers of the publications and large outlets in shopping centres are exempted from this, provided all the health and safety precautions are adhered to. This is part of the preventive measures taken to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The decision includes banning the distribution of printed materials, including advertisements, in residential complexes, restaurants, hotels, health centres and clinics, waiting halls in public sector and private sector services centres and other places where several people are likely to use the same printed materials. The ban does not apply to awareness publications approved by the health authorities.

The decision is in line with the precautionary measures taken to contain the spread of the virus. Several people touching the same printed material has the potential to disseminate the virus.

The National Media Council has stressed that the daily newspapers in the country with their advanced digital infrastructure will continue to play their crucial role in publishing news stories and carrying discussions on issues of national importance across their multiple platforms.

They will also continue their efforts to spread awareness among the public about preventive measures against the Coronavirus, the Council added.