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Regulations of News Agency & media as per the UAE Law

The United Arab Emirates regulates media and news agency through various federal laws and authorities. We have explained some of the key ones in this article below. 

What are the laws applicable? 

Federal Law No. 15 of 1980 Concerning Publications and Publishing (Publications Law): 

This law 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. 

Under this law, there are prohibitions on publications, which are set out under Chapter Seven. For instance, Article 70 of the Publications Law states that it is prohibited to criticize the President of the country or the Governors of the Emirates. Article 71 of the Publications Law further states that it is prohibited to publish any material which includes instigation or offence against Islam or the regime in the country or to damage the higher interests of the country or the principal regulations of the society. 

It is also prohibited to publish any opinions which violate public morals or offend youth, or which call or promote destructive principles under Article 72 of the Publications Law.

Article 80 of the Publications Law further disallows the publication in bad faith any false news, artificial or forged documents or falsely attributed to third parties. 

Cabinet Decision No. 23 of 2017 On Media Content (Media Content Regulations):

This Media Content Regulations applies to media content of any media activity carried out in the country in whole or in part, including the media activities of the following persons and entities: 

  1. Print, and audio-visual media and institutions that print, publish, broadcast, circulate or distribute media content. 
  2. Any person who prints any publication within the country.
  3. Any person who circulates any publication including materials received thereby or sent thereto from outside the country.
  4. Diplomatic and consular missions to the country, in respect of publications issued for purposes of circulation within the country. 
  5. Clubs, associations and foreign centres that carry out media activities. 
  6. Free media zones

Under the Media Content Regulations, the media content has to comply with certain specified standards. These standards have been set out in Article 4 and include the following: 

  1. Prohibition to offend the prevailing values in society and taking into account the requirements of public interest. 
  2. Prohibition to prejudice the economic, judicial and security system in the State and to spread rumours and biased and misleading news. 
  3. Respect for privacy rules and everything relating to the privacy of individuals. 
  4. Respect for the rights of institutions and individuals, including intellectual property rights. 
  5. Prohibition to publish or circulate anything that might incite crimes, such as encouraging murder, rape, drug and psychotropic substances, drinking alcohol, gambling, smoking, magic, sorcery and astrology. 
  6. Prohibition to publish, broadcast or circulate statements, images, drawings or opinions that violate the integrity of public morality, or involve the abuse of youth or the advocacy to embrace or promote destructive or misleading principles. 
  7. Prohibition to publish or broadcast or circulate false news or documents that are fictitious or forged or incorrectly attributed to the parties and persons. 

In addition to the above, Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021 on Combatting Rumors and Cybercrimes was issued recently which aims to protect the society and government websites and data from information technology crimes and combat rumors and fraud through electronic communication.


The above are just some of the laws which are applicable to news agency and media, and there are federal and local authorities which regulate media in order to ensure that security of the society and protect the residents from content that is against the values of the country.

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