The Internet Access Management Regulatory Policy consists of certain frameworks and categories in regards to the internet, which must be taken into consideration by internet service providers to ensure the security of the internet and protect end-users from harmful websites containing materials that are contrary to religious and ethical values of the UAE. Media Regulatory Office (MRO) manages and regulates media activities and media-related free zones in the UAE. Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021 on Combatting Rumors and Cybercrimes aims to protect the society and government websites and data from information technology crimes and combat rumors and fraud through electronic communication.
Internet Access Management (IAM) policy
Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) implements the Internet Access Management Regulatory Policy (PDF, 500 KB) in the UAE, in coordination with Media Regulatory Office (MRO) and Etisalat and Du, the licensed internet service providers in the UAE.
The regulation policy consists of certain frameworks and categories in regards to the internet, which must be taken into consideration by internet service providers to ensure the security of the internet and protect end-users from harmful websites containing materials that are contrary to religious and ethical values of the UAE.
TDRA monitors online content available to users in the UAE and will notify website operators based in the UAE of any potential breaches of the IAM policy. TDRA, in its enforcement of IAM, also monitors online advertising, including the advertising of medical and other specialised products and services.
Etisalat and Du are required to block online content if so is requested by TDRA. Categories under which content is restricted by virtue of the IAM policy are:
Reporting prohibited content
As per TDRA’s internet guidelines, internet users can report online about prohibited content to the licensed internet service providers, Etisalat and Du.
In January 2021, the UAE Cabinet approved the general framework of UAE Media Strategy which is overseen by the UAE Government Media Office. The approval was done with an aim to strengthen the UAE’s position and reputation at the regional and global levels.
The strategy will:
The strategy will also focus on several areas of national priority while:
Read related news coverage on WAM.
At the federal level
The National Media Office (NMO) is a new media unit that will be responsible for developing the UAE’s media sector at the national level and enhance the UAE’s status as a key media hub regionally and internationally. NMO will support cooperation between the UAE’s various media offices, and ensure that Emiratis at higher positions in the media industry are equipped with media leadership skills.
NMO will train and upskill Emirati talent in media, develop and organise the roles of official spokespeople, represent the UAE at media conferences and events and conduct research within the media sector.
NMO is affiliated with Minister of Presidential Court and it will be based in Abu Dhabi with offices set up in the UAE and abroad. The Emirates News Agency (WAM) will report to the Head of NMO.
Read news coverage on WAM.
Media Regulatory Office (MRO) manages and regulates media activities and media-related free zones in the UAE. MRO operates under Ministry of Culture and Youth (which was renamed from Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development after the merger of National Media Council with Federal Youth Authority). Thus, it takes over the responsibilities of National Media Council.
The responsibilities of MRO include:
Get eServices in the media sector for individuals and government entities.
At the local level
Local media bodies contribute to the development of the media scene in the UAE. They include:
All media institutions creating audio, visual, print and digital content in the UAE’s mainland and free zones must comply with the standards for media content contained in the Federal Law No. 15 of 1980 Concerning Press and Publications and other laws and regulations in force.
Federal Law No.15 for 1980 Concerning Press and Publications
Federal Law No.15 for 1980 Concerning Press and Publications regulates printing and publishing licensing and activities in the UAE and it applies to traditional media content such as newspapers, magazines and television broadcasting, as well as digital media content.
The law sets outs guidelines on materials which are prohibited from publication and penalties imposed on the publishing company and associated staff if found in violation of the Publications Law. This law covers provisions for:
NMC Chairman’s Decision No. 20 of 2010 Concerning Media Content Standards
According to Decision No. 20 of 2010, all the audio, visual, print and digital media institutions in the UAE should adhere to media content standards contained in the Federal Law No.15 for 1980 Concerning Press and Publications and other media regulations in force. The Chairman’s decision emphasises national standards for prohibited media content as set out in the Press and Publications Law.
The decision requires all media institutions to keep a record or archives of all media material which were produced, printed, distributed or broadcast in the last three consecutive months. They must also provide the council with monthly reports showing compliance to these standards.
Learn also about these resolutions for organizing media content and fees for media services
In 2018, UAE National Media Council implemented a new system to govern all electronic and digital media activities on the mainland and in free zones. The new system covers all means of expression including writing, painting, music, photography or others that are transferable between individuals in any form whether printed, audio, visual, electronic, digital or any other technological means. All existing media enterprises are given a deadline of 30 May 2018 to correct their situations and ensure their activities fully comply with the new guidelines.
According to the new system, the following media activities require prior approval:
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:
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.
Social media influencers licensing
Social media influencers have to be licensed if they accept paid ads to be published on their accounts.