UAE issues decree-law on comprehensive media regulation

A federal decree legislation has been adopted by the UAE government to completely regulate different media activities.

This initiative seeks to enhance the UAE's global standing as a prominent media centre, fostering an environment conducive to the growth and prosperity of the media sector. The law also aims to create a competitive legislative and investment landscape that aligns with global changes in the media industry.

Applicability and Ownership:

Everyone or everything engaged in the media industry in the United Arab Emirates is subject to the Decree Law. This includes media organisations, outlets, and free media zones. It is worth mentioning that, with certain restrictions, the law recognises both people and legal entities as owners of media institutions and outlets.

Defined media activities:

Media activities, as outlined in the decree law, encompass a broad spectrum, including the production, transmission, distribution, printing, publishing, broadcasting, and dissemination of media content across various formats. This includes television and radio broadcasting, films, newspapers, electronic and digital media, book fairs, foreign publications, and more.

Regulation and Oversight:

The law regulates the powers of the Emirates Media Council and relevant government agencies responsible for issuing licences and permits for media activities. It emphasises adherence to standards of media content, respecting religious beliefs, governmental institutions, national identity, and societal values. The law also prohibits activities that may harm national unity, incite violence, spread discord, or violate privacy.

Age Classification and Intellectual Property:

The Emirates Media Council is entrusted with issuing permits related to cinematic films, age classification standards for media content, and permits for advertising or media content on modern platforms. The law underscores the protection of intellectual property in the media industry and emphasises compliance with applicable laws and trademarks in the UAE.

Oversight and Compliance:

Licenced media entities and individuals are subject to control and supervision by the competent authority, with the Emirates Media Council empowered to conduct oversight and inspections to ensure compliance with the law's provisions.

Transition Period:

To ensure a seamless transition, the Decree-Law provides a one-year grace period for individuals, establishments, and media institutions to adjust to its provisions, executive regulations, and implementing decisions. The Council of Ministers has the authority to extend this grace period if necessary.

This comprehensive legal framework reflects the UAE's commitment to fostering a responsible and thriving media sector aligned with global standards.

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