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UAE unveils comprehensive media regulation decree

UAE media must respect religion, sovereignty, and national interests.

UAE unveils comprehensive media regulation decree
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

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To streamline its media landscape and solidify its position as a global media hub, the UAE issued a comprehensive federal decree regulating all forms of media activity within the country.

The decree, hailed as a catalyst for sector growth, reaches across print, broadcast, and digital realms, encompassing everything from film production and newspaper publishing to online streaming and social media.

Beyond licensing media activities, the decree establishes the UAE Media Council as the central governing body, granting it oversight of radio and television broadcasting, book fairs, and foreign media offices.

The decree emphasizes responsible content creation and adherence to national values. Media outlets are expected to respect religious beliefs, national sovereignty, and the interests of UAE society. This balance between fostering creativity and upholding societal norms marks a key aspect of the new regulations.

Media outlets and individuals must also avoid content that undermines national unity, provokes violence or discord, exploits legal and economic systems, breaches privacy, or spreads misinformation.

The new decree also positions the UAE Media Council as the gatekeeper for media in the UAE, giving them the authority to issue permits for films, video games, books, and even social media content. They also define content ratings and determine age restrictions for all forms of entertainment.

The council aims to support safeguarding intellectual property rights for media establishments, offering a grace period for adaptation to the decree’s updated criteria. This period spans 12 months from the enactment of its provisions and can be prolonged based on a decision by the cabinet.

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