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Introduction to Media Laws in UAE

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


Digitalization developments technology increased risk cybercrimes defamation

Digitalization and developments in technology have increased the risk of cybercrimes and defamation via social media platforms and other online websites. To regulate these kinds of misconduct the UAE media laws are heavily regulated.        

The Media Regulatory Office (MRO) oversees and controls media operations and media-based free zones within the UAE. Additionally, Federal Decree-Law No. 34 of 2021 on Combatting Rumours and Cybercrimes aims to shield government websites and data, as well as society, from cybercrimes and prevent the spread of false information and deceitful activities via electronic communication. 

Posting any insulting or defamatory remarks on the internet can result in imprisonment and/or fines as stated in Article 43 of the Cybercrime Law. Criminal activities under this law include making defamatory comments on social media, invading someone's privacy, tagging someone without their consent, morphing, posting images or videos without consent, threatening, spreading false information, and engaging in gossip or defamation of individuals. 

The Internet Access Management Regulatory Policy was enforced by Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) enforces in collaboration with the Media Regulatory Office (MRO). It has a set of rules that internet service providers must adhere to in order to safeguard users and protect them from illegal websites that violate UAE laws.

Internet providers like Etisalat and Du should block certain types of online content that violate the rules and regulations.

TDRA's internet guidelines allow internet users to report such prohibited content to licensed internet service providers.

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, National Media Office (NMO) has been established to promote the development of the UAE's media sector at the national level.  NMO operates under the supervision of the Minister of Presidential Affairs.  

All media organizations operating in the UAE are required to follow a set of standards while disseminating media content. They are as follows:

  • Respect the political system, the authority of the UAE, and its symbols, and not to degrade national harmony.
  • Do not insult religious sentiments, and respect the laws and moral guidelines governing media activity.
  • Avoid harming the nation's financial system.
  • It is forbidden to print or post anything that is harmful to children, women, or other social groups, or that might incite others to hatred and violence
  • Do not violate copyright rules and regulations.
  • Refrain from disseminating information about an ongoing or private criminal investigation
  • Do not invade the privacy of individuals by publishing content without their consent
  • Do not reveal confidential information like confidential contacts, military matters or conventions, or treaties.
  • Do not slander federal officials or criticize the UAE government or rulers
  • Do not forge or spread information with corrupt intention.
  • Do not circulate material that will disturb the financial stability of the country.

Refrain from publishing news or advertisements that violate public morals.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971526443004