UAE announces new regulations for media

The law aims to organise media activities in the UAE, promote its status as a global media hub, and establish an enabling environment for the growth of the media sector

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The UAE government has announced a new federal decree-law on regulating media.

This aims to organise media activities in the UAE, promote its status as a global media hub, and establish an enabling environment to catalyse the growth and prosperity of the media sector.

The provisions of the decree apply to individuals, organisations, media outlets, and free zones dedicated to media in the UAE.

It allows both individuals and legal entities to own media institutions and outlets in accordance with specific regulations and conditions.

As per the decree, media activities include the production, circulation, printing and publishing of media content, as well as audio, video and digital broadcasting, at a cost or free of charge.

This encompasses the issuance and supervision of licenses and permits for a wide range of media activities conducted by individuals, establishments, and media institutions.

These activities span radio and television broadcasting, cinema movies and creative productions, newspapers and publications, digital and electronic media endeavors, book fairs, foreign publications, foreign media offices, as well as the printing, circulation, and publishing of media content.

It also extends to aerial, ground, and maritime imaging operations.

The federal decree outlines the roles of the UAE Media Council and local government entities in overseeing media regulations.

According to the decree, all media individuals and institutions in the UAE must adhere to national standards.

This includes respecting religious beliefs, upholding the country’s sovereignty and symbols, following national policies, avoiding actions that could harm international relations, and honoring the UAE’s cultural identity and values.

Media outlets and individuals are required to avoid sharing information that could harm national unity or social harmony, incite violence or hatred, or create discord among society members.

They must also uphold the integrity of the UAE’s legal and economic systems, ensuring justice and security are not misused. Additionally, they should respect privacy rules, refrain from disseminating rumors or misleading news, and avoid publishing any material that may encourage criminal activities.

As per the decree, the UAE Media Council is responsible for issuing permits for the screening of cinematographic and other creative productions.

And to defining the classifications of the media content rating system for prints 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 and is 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 licensed or authorised individuals and media outlets be subject to oversight and supervision by the competent authority.

This allows the Council to conduct surveillance and inspection of persons, outlets and media institutions, including free zones.

As per the Decree-Law, the UAE Media Council, in collaboration with relevant authorities, will encourage the safeguarding of intellectual property for individuals, establishments, and media institutions in the UAE.

Individuals, organisations, and media outlets have been given a twelve-month window, extendable by Cabinet decision, to adhere to the Decree-Law and its Executive Regulations from the date it takes effect.