Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The National Media Council unveils new regulations for electronic media in UAE

The National Media Council unveiled a set of regulations for electronic media, governing all online activities including e-commerce, publishing and selling of print, video and audio material as well as advertising.

The new guidelines apply to news websites, electronic publishing outlets, and on-demand printing, including commercial activities conducted through social media within the UAE, Mansour Al Mansouri, director-general of the National Media Council, told a news conference in Abu Dhabi.

According to the new regulations, social media influencers who promote brands or do e-commerce in the UAE will now have to get a licence from the National Media Council.

The new code of practice, however, does not apply to personal websites and bloggers.

“The regulations seek to help the UAE media sector remain on top of the rapid developments in electronic media, in addition to enriching and organising digital content, and ensuring that media material respects the religious, cultural and social values of the UAE, all the while promoting freedom of expression and constructive dialogue,” Al Mansouri said.

Al Mansouri said the new code of practice provides for balanced and responsible media content that respects the privacy of individuals and protects the public, especially children, from the negative or harmful material.

Media enterprises have three months to ensure their activities fully comply with the new guidelines.

Websites of licensed traditional media such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines are exempt and do not need to secure new licences, Al Mansouri said.
Also exempt are websites of schools, colleges and universities as well as government entities.

Companies registered in free zones shall be subject to the regulation.

Al Mansouri, however, cautioned that all electronic media activities, whether covered by the regulations or not, are necessarily subject to the principles and standards of governing media content in the country.

Al Mansouri said the new guidelines seek to enhance the contribution of electronic media to the wider publishing industry, providing legal protection for the outlets and enhancing their competitiveness, all in an effort to increase advertising spend and spur the sector’s growth as a whole.

The new regulations are part of the NMC’s plan to promote an advanced legislative and regulatory environment for the UAE media sector, keeping it abreast of all technological developments that have transformed media in recent times.

“Today, electronic media has become highly influential and widespread tool; it is imperative that we enhance its reliability. Digital media is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Middle East, especially videos, games and e-books. Regulating this sector will attract new global investments which, in turn, will improve its development and competitiveness,” Al Mansouri said.