A comprehensive federal decree-law was unveiled by the UAE government to control media operations in the nation. The strategic move intends to stabilize the media landscape in the United Arab Emirates, enhance the country’s standing as a global media hub, and create an ideal environment for the industry’s expansion and prosperity. The new rules are intended to support the media in the United Arab Emirates. These apply to individuals, organizations, media outlets, and media-focused free zones across the nation. The provisions permit media outlets and institutions to be owned by both legal persons and individuals. However, this is possible only under certain restrictions and conditions.
UAE Government issues a federal decree on regulating media, encompasses organising electronic and digital media activities in the country
— UAEGOV (@UAEmediaoffice) December 18, 2023
The new Federal Decree-Law issued
The decree outlines procedures for the issuance and oversight of licenses and permits for a wide range of activities carried out by individuals, establishments, and media institutions. These activities include the creation, distribution, printing, and publishing of media content as well as audio, video, and digital broadcasting. The decree outlines the roles of local government entities and the UAE Media Council in monitoring media regulations, emphasizing their vital role in this regard.
This covers all matters relating to the granting and monitoring of licenses and permits for the performance of media activities. These activities include broadcasting media on radio and television, film and television productions. It also includes newspapers, publications, digital and electronic media, and the printing, distribution, and publication of media content by foreign media offices at book fairs. It encompasses maritime, ground, and aerial imaging operations as well. Additionally, the federal decree’s provisions address the UAE Media Council‘s authority and local government bodies’ concerns regarding media regulation.
The decree mandates that all media individuals and organizations doing business in the UAE adhere to the national guidelines for media content. The most important ones are: honoring national policies, and avoiding actions that could negatively affect international relations. Furthermore, it includes avoiding any negative impact on the UAE’s foreign relations. Additionally, it also encompasses respecting religious beliefs and upholding the nation’s sovereignty and symbols. Most notably, ensuring the paramount interests of the UAE and its society. Media organizations and individuals are expected to refrain from disseminating information that could undermine social cohesion or national unity. They are also expected to refrain from content that may incite violence or hatred, or sow discord among people. Permits for “individuals providing advertising or media content on social media and other modern technical means, at a cost or free of charge” are another responsibility assigned to the council.
Respect for privacy
To prevent the abuse of justice and security, media outlets and individuals alike must protect the integrity of the legal and economic systems in the UAE. Along with protecting people’s right to privacy and their private lives, it also entails not publishing, broadcasting, or propagating rumors or false information and refraining from publishing anything that might incite criminal activity. This gives the Council the authority to monitor and examine individuals, media outlets, and establishments, including free zones.
Role of the UAE Media Council
Permission to screen cinematographic and other creative productions must be issued by the UAE Media Council, per the decree. The Media Content Rating Systems classifications for print and creative productions will also be defined. These include written books, video games, and cinematic works. The age groups appropriate for viewing media and entertainment council will also be determined by the Council.
Intellectual property rights under the Federal Decree-Law
Following the Federal Decree-Law, the UAE Media Council will promote the protection of intellectual property for individuals, businesses, and media organizations in the UAE. It will be in coordination with pertinent authorities. Twelve months have been granted to individuals, organizations, and media outlets to comply with the Federal Decree-Law and its Executive Regulations as of the date of its implementation. It is, subject to extension by Cabinet decision. This demonstrates the government’s dedication to helping stakeholders adjust to the new regulatory framework smoothly.