UAE’s National Media Council (NMC) issued a new advertising guide, clarifying the standards of content a sponsored social media post must follow.
License mandatory for advertisers
From now on, websites and electronic media outlets must obtain a license from NMC, to carry out advertising activity. The account holder is responsible for the content of the advertisement, however. Whereas, advertorials must disclose whether the content is a paid-for-promotion. Failure to meet advertising standards may lead to hefty fines.
Permissions required for liquor, tobacco and narcotics
Concerned authorities related to education (eg. KHDA), real estate (eg. RERA) and health (eg DHA) must be approached to obtain approval for advertising liquor, tobacco, narcotics and similar services. Otherwise, any form of direct or indirect advertising for these aren’t allowed, including terms such as ‘grapes,’ and ‘pint’ for beverages.
Vagueness not allowed in electronic ads
NMC requires the advertising sector to adhere to their standards for advertising, wherein advertisements must be straightforward, unbiased and respect intellectual property rights. They must not contain misleading news, promote rumors or use graphics that violate public morality. Plus, advertisements are required to comply with rules governing consumer protection and fair competition controls, commercial fraud and legal monopoly.
Charitable organizations exempt from licenses
Non-profit organizations dealing with charity and volunteer don’t require licenses from NMC. Advertisers will have to follow a free-of-charge conduct on a non-commercial basis. Any organizations dealing in similar humanitarian activities are exempted from obtaining a license.
Massive growth in UAE’s social media sector
NMC announced the new set of advertising guidelines, to regulate online advertising activity. Dr. Rashid Al Nuaimi, Executive Director Media Affairs at the council described the sector as an “ever-increasing role in driving the economy.” He says “It contributes to the increase of product consumption which in turn leads to an increase in production output – a fundamental aspect of economic development. It also has an important role in terms of social utility, as effective advertising can support cultural heritage and the civilisation of the state.”
Here are the 19 new advertising guidelines:
1.Refrain from offending God and Islamic beliefs, and show respect for other heavenly religions
2.Show respect for the UAE Government and its emblems and political institutions
3.Show respect for the cultural heritage of the State
4.Avoid harming national unity and social cohesion, and provoking sectarian, doctrinal and trial strife
5.Show respect for the UAE’s systems and policies at the internal level and its relations with other countries
6.Refrain from harming the economic system in the UAE and spreading rumours and misleading news
7.Show respect for the UAE’s policies to promote its national identity
8.Avoid disseminating information that harms or abuses children and women, or any other social groups, or incites hatred and violence
9.Avoid publishing images or words that could violate public morality
10.Any advertising for witchcraft, sorcery or astrology shall not be allowed
11.Respect intellectual property rights
12.Comply with codes of conduct and standards of honesty, including compliance with the rules governing business, especially in regards to consumer protection and fair competition controls, prohibition of commercial fraud and illegal monopoly
13.Advertising for alcoholic beverages or narcotics is not permitted in any form, whether directly or indirectly
14.Tobacco advertising, smoking of all kinds and methods of using them, or any other services or products that are prohibited from advertising, shall not be permitted
15.Comply with the rules of health advertisements contained in Cabinet Resolution No. 4 of 2007 and its amendments on health advertisements
16.Avoid publishing advertisements that contain false, malicious, and misleading information
17.Respect the national identity of the UAE
18.Observe the conditions and terms concerning the use of the flag, emblem and national anthem of the UAE
19.Obtain the prior approval of the concerned authorities for advertisements requiring prior approvals, such as those related to health, education, real estate, Hajj and Umrah campaigns and others