Prohibited media content in the UAE
The UAE sets national standards for media content and requires all local mass media institutions operating in the UAE to abide by them. These include:
- to respect the regime of the United Arab Emirates, its symbols and the political system
- not to offend the divine and Islamic beliefs, and show respect to other religions
- to respect the culture and heritage of the UAE
- not to offend national unity nor social cohesion and/or incite up sectarian, regional and tribal conflict
- to respect directions and policies of the UAE at the domestic and international levels
- not to harm the economic system of the country, nor spread rumours, misleading and biased news
- to respect the government policies to promote national identity and the integration of citizens in the media labour market
- to respect the principles and codes of ethics of media work
- not to publish or broadcast information harmful to children, women and other social groups, or that would incite others toward hatred and violence
- to respect the copyright rules and regulations
- not to disclose official confidential contacts, military matters or conventions or treaties concluded by the government without proper authorisations
- not to report distorted proceedings and deliberations of courts or other regulatory bodies
- not to disclose information on a criminal investigation, which has not been concluded and/or ordered to be confidential
- not to publish news, photographs, comments which invade privacy of individuals and families or destroy reputation
- forging, fabricating documents or presenting incorrect news with bad intent
- material which harms the national currency or causes a confusion over the economic situation in a country
- newsletters or advertisements, which include expressions, photographs, or drawings that are in violation of public morals or may confuse the public
- defaming public officials
- investigations which deal with more than one party, without giving an account of the views of all parties directly concerned.
Advertising content policies
Official guide for advertisers
In October 2018, National Media Council (NMC) issued an official advertising guide, which aims to clarify standards for the advertisement industry in the UAE and to protect the public from marketing promotions that do not conform to applicable standards.
The document specifies the terms of licensing for advertising activities for individuals, companies and institutions.
NMC Chairman’s Decision No. 35 of 2013 regulates the content of advertising materials. According to the decision, all advertisements that are produced, placed or distributed within the UAE or imported into the UAE must abide by the national standards for media content and the Federal Law No. 15 of 1980 Concerning the Press and Publications.
All specialised advertising such as that related to medicine, drugs, food, promotional campaigns, special offers, real estate or universities and educational institutions must obtain prior approvals from the competent authorities. In addition, advertisement content must:
- not promote the acts of black magic or astrological predictions
- comply with the conditions and regulations related to the UAE flag, national emblem and anthem
- respect intellectual property rights of others
- not advertise alcoholic beverages, narcotic substances, tobacco, smoking or any related goods and services
- not be not be ambiguous, nor include any false or misleading or fraudulent information
- not include images that are falsified or imitated or that violate intellectual property rights
- not lead to confusion or ambiguity with other products or activities
- include the spoken Emirati dialect or the classic Arabic language
- clearly identify the advertiser.
Updated on 28 Jan 2021