The UAE’s National Media Council (NMC) has unveiled new licence requirements for electronic media including news and e-commerce sites and activities conducted on social media by influencers.
Media enterprises have three months to ensure they are fully compliant with the new guidelines and have the appropriate licence.
Those that fail to comply face fines of up to Dhs5,000 ($1,361) and the potential closure of their website or account, according to reports.
Among the affected channels are news websites, electronic publishing outlets and on-demand printing companies, as well as companies that publish and sell print, video and audio material, official news agency WAM quoted NMC director general Mansour Al Mansouri as saying.
Social media influencers are also among the groups affected by the changes, which come into effect at the end of June.
However, traditional licenced media like television broadcasters, newspapers and magazines will not have to get a new licence. Schools, colleges, universities and government entities are also exempt.
“The regulations seek to help the UAE media sector remain on top of the rapid developments in electronic media, in addition to enriching and organizing digital content, and ensuring that media material respects the religious, cultural and social values of the UAE, all the while promoting freedom of expression and constructive dialogue,” Al Mansouri said.
He added that the new guidelines were intended to provide legal protection for outlets and enhance their competitiveness, while also increasing advertising spending.
Also on Tuesday, Arabic newspaper Al Bayan reported that the Ministry of Economy and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) were preparing to shut down e-commerce sites carrying out commercial activities on social media without a licence.
The UAE’s consumer protection department said the changes were intended to protect consumers from sites selling counterfeit or overpriced goods.