Online Media Firms Now Required to Have NMC License

Previously, we have talked about rules for using social media in the UAE. Posting pictures of people without their permission, for instance, is a big no-no. Likewise, posting content that is offensive to Islamic morals and values could lead to a huge fine and several years in jail!

Meanwhile, the National Media Council (NMC) recently announced new policies for electronic media. These cover all activities being done online, including advertising and e-commerce. These regulations also apply to publishing and selling print, audio, and video materials.

The National Media Council (NMC) has set new rules for online media firms.
Image Credit: WAM News Agency

NMC Sets New Rules for Electronic Media

During a media briefing held in Abu Dhabi, the NMC released new regulations for online media firms. It was led by NMC’s Director-General, Mansour Ibrahim Al Mansouri, and the Executive Director of Media Affairs, Dr. Rashid Al Nuaimi.

The NMC announced that the new rules apply to:

  • News websites
  • On-demand printing
  • Electronic publishing outlets
  • Commercial activities thru social media
The new rules apply to news websites, e-commerce, and other online activities.

“The new regulations are part of the Council’s plan to promote and develop an advanced legislative and regulatory environment for the UAE media sector, keeping it up-to-speed with regards to all technological developments that have transformed media in recent times,” Al Mansouri stated.

“Today, electronic media has become a highly influential and widespread tool; it is imperative that we enhance its reliability,” he explained. “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.”

Director-General Mansour Ibrahim Al Mansouri explains the new NMC rules.
Image Credit: WAM News Agency

Regulating Content & Protecting People’s Privacy
Basically, the NMC’s policies for electronic media seek to:

  • Enrich & organise digital content
  • Promote freedom of expression & constructive dialogue
  • Help the media sector keep up with rapid developments in electronic media
  • Provide balanced & responsible media content that respects people’s privacy
  • Provide media content that protects the public from negative/harmful materials
  • Ensure that media materials respect the UAE’s cultural, social, & religious values
The policies aim to regulate digital content and protect people’s privacy.

Exemptions to the New Regulations
It must be clarified, however, that the following groups are exempted from the new rules set by NMC. Hence, these bodies do not need to acquire a new license:

  • Websites of licensed traditional media (e.g. TV, radio, newspapers)
  • Websites of government agencies, schools, & universities

Nonetheless, Al Mansouri mentioned that regardless of whether a group is covered by the new polices or not — everyone is still subject to the laws governing media content in the UAE. He also urged all the concerned online media firms to secure new licenses before 1st June 2018.

Scene from the NMC briefing
Image Credit: WAM News Agency

All of these rules are meant to ensure a safe and responsible online environment. We should try to be aware and to follow these regulations as much as possible. For additional information, check out Federal Law No. 5 of 2012, better known as the Cyber Crimes Law of the UAE.

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