What is age classification?

Age Classification is a system containing classes and rating categories used to determine the appropriateness of media content for different age groups and their conformity with the principles and standards of media content.

What are media activities?

Media activities are any activities related to the production, transmission, distribution and broadcasting of printed, digital, audio and visual information through the media, including press, publications, broadcast, film, and any other relevant activities identified by the National Media Council.

What is media content?

Media Content is Any information or messages, expressed or implied, directly or indirectly, included or referred to in any form of media material, whether it is broadcasted directly or recorded, or re-broadcasted or communicated to the public by any means, including but not limited to performances, demonstrations, films, series, plays, advertisements, etc.

What are works of art?

A Work of Art is any innovative creation in the field of literature, science or arts, regardless of its type, way of expression, importance or purpose, and any material, whether visual, audible or both, recorded on any regular or technological material, including but not limited to tapes, CDs, DVDs and others.

What is the scope of application for the age classification system?

The provisions of this System shall apply to the content of works and media materials, which are circulated in the UAE and its media free zones, including films, videos, electronic and video games, electronic or printed novels and comic books).

What are the basic principles of the age classification system?

This system aims to regulate age classification of artistic works (films/videos/electronic and video games /books and novels) in accordance with the following basic principles:
1. Ensuring conformity with the general principles, frameworks and standards governing media content in the country, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
2. Identification and classification of media materials, which are subject to publication and circulation laws and regulations, according to appropriate age groups.
3. Protecting children from exposure to materials that are harmful, disturbing or unsuitable for them.
4. Helping adults choose the right media materials for themselves and any children for which they are responsible.
5. Providing sufficient information on works to help individuals make the appropriate choices.
6. Providing a balanced, responsible and fair age classification system that respects the privacy of individuals and protects the different segments of society from potentially harmful materials.

Is the age classification system compulsory?

It is prohibited to print, circulate or import any publication into the country unless it is classified according to the provisions of this system and the approved standards for media content. The Council may stop or prohibit the circulation, printing and entry of any material that does not comply with the classification criteria stipulated in these regulations, as well as impose sanctions against violators.

What rules should be observed when classifying works of art?

When categorising works of art (films/videos/electronic and video games/books and novels), the following must be observed:
1. Avoiding the classification of any work, whose circulation is prohibited by applicable laws and regulations.
2. Adherence to media content standards.
3. Freedom of opinion and expression.
4. Children's rights to protection from abuse, neglect or any form of harm.
5. Freedom of feeling of safety, including protection against exposure to undesirable materials, which are harmful to the country and society and go against the inherited values and practices (e.g. homosexuality - human trafficking - discrimination and hatred).
6. Respecting intellectual property rights.

When are classifications rejected?

Classification is rejected in cases where the content of the work violates the media content standards issued by the National Media Council.

What are the categories that reflect the age classification of film and video content?

Age classification indicates that the content of films and videos is appropriate for a specific age group. It is expressed in a number of symbols indicating the appropriate age class, as shown in the table below:
G PG PG 13 PG 15 15+ 18+
General viewing, suitable for all age groups. General viewing provided that children are accompanied by an adult. Allowed for those under the age of 13 provided that they are accompanied by an adult. Allowed for those under the age of 15 provided that they are accompanied by an adult. Allowed for those aged 15 and older only. Allowed for those aged 18 and older only.
The following table shows details on age classifications for film and video content:
G
General Does not contain any material that "violates media content standards".
Violence Contains mild violent behaviour and/or some cartoon or comic aggressive behaviour or mild use of some slightly bad expressions, humorous or otherwise, or any content appropriate for children, adolescents and adults alike.
PG
General Does not contain any material that "violates media content standards".
Violence 1. Contains mild violent and aggressive behaviour, profanity, or suggestive themes.
2. Does not contain scenes of child abduction, shootings, natural disasters or separation of children from parents.
Language Free from profanity or suggestive themes, or including minor dramatic events and fictional conflicts.
PG 13
General May contain some scenes showing mild violent behaviour, horror, or inappropriate words and images.
Violence 1. May contain mild violence, or some cartoon, playful and horror harmful content.
2. May contain thrilling events and fictional conflicts.
Language Mild use of certain expressions with clear emotional connotations (words) and non-profane humour (hostile, religious, sexual or political).
Sexual Content May contain scenes that include explicit innuendo, emotional sexual description or images, or any romantic, sexually suggestive acts.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse 1. Contains scenes showing or referring to drugs, but do not encourage substance abuse directly.
2. Contains scenes that show alcohol being served or consumed, but do not encourage alcohol abuse directly.
Gambling Does not contain scenes or clips that teach or encourage gambling, or encouraging suggestions of such practices.
PG 15
Violence Contains images and scenes of actual combat, resembling what is experienced in reality, and may contain brutal bloodshed and the use of weapons violently to harm and kill humans directly, even if they are shown in a playful manner.
Language Contains images or clips that contain some profane expressions, some suggestive and sexual innuendo, or words and parts referring to violent behaviours, or drug and alcohol abuse.
Sexual Content 1. Contains partial nudity scenes (showing parts of the body such as the breasts and thighs)
2. Contains scenes with partially sexual content (shown indirectly) or sexual thoughts expressed directly.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse 1. Contains scenes that directly refer to or show narcotics or other harmful substances being used.
2. Contains scenes that directly show alcohol being served or consumed.
3. Encourages any form of smoking or views scenes that contain such behaviour.
Gambling Does not contain scenes or clips that teach or encourage gambling, or encouraging suggestions of such practices, not including general references and hints depicted due to the nature of the film.
15+
Violence Contains images and scenes of actual combat, resembling what is experienced in reality, and may contain scenes of brutal bloodshed and the use of weapons violently to harm and kill humans directly and at a higher levels of violence than those used in the previous category.
Language 1. Contains images or clips that contain some profane expressions, some suggestive and sexual innuendo, or expressions referring to violent behaviours, or drug and alcohol abuse, displaying higher levels of profanity than those used in the previous category.
2. Contains scenes or clips that may contain jokes that are only suitable for adults, including sexually suggestive jokes, displaying higher levels of profanity than those used in the previous category.
Nudity and Sexual Content 1. Contains partial nudity scenes, displaying more intense content than that used in the previous category.
2. Contains scenes with partially sexual content (shown indirectly) or sexual thoughts expressed directly, displaying more intense content than that used in the previous category.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse 1. Contains scenes that directly refer to or show narcotics or other harmful substances being used, at a higher level than that in the previous category.
2. Contains scenes that directly show alcohol being served or consumed at a higher level than that in the previous category.
Gambling Does not contain scenes or clips that teach or encourage gambling, or encouraging suggestions of such practices, not including general references and hints depicted due to the nature of the film.
18+
Violence 1. Contains very violent scenes, displaying brutality and terror that may cause the audience to experience shock and disgust.
2. Contains scenes and clips, containing extreme bloodshed and mutilation.
Language Contains clear but non-sexual profane language suitable for adults only.
Nudity and Sexual Content Contains clear scenes of partial nudity or direct sexual innuendo.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Contains scenes displaying explicit smoking and the abuse of alcohol, drugs or banned substances.
Gambling Does not contain scenes or clips that teach or encourage gambling, or encouraging suggestions of such practices, not including general references and hints depicted due to the nature of the film.

What is video game classification?

- Age classification for video games is the classification of the content of electronic games played on devices such as Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo, as well as PCs, online platforms or mobile phones.
- Electronic games that require Internet access (Online Games), which may contain content that can be added by some players during the game (such as chat, instructions, maps, texts, images, video clips and other additions) are included in the classification system. The system adds warning texts like "The content of this game may change while connected to the internet", to alert and inform parents that content may be added by some players during the game or internet access, and is not yet been classified by the system.
- Some electronic video games contain stages that require Internet access and prior payment of subscription fees, which may change their age classification.

What does age classification of video games mean?

Age classification indicates that the game content is appropriate for a specific age group. The following age classifications apply to video games:
3 7 12 16 18 21
The following table shows details on age classifications for electronic and video games:
(3)
General 1. Games classified in this category are completely safe for all age groups, and may be developed for children or the general public.
2. The game does not contain any inappropriate content, and may contain some fictional content, based on which the cartoon content of the game is created.
3. The game does not contain scary content, including voices and sounds, profane language, or any kind of illustrations of or references to drugs or nudity.
Violence The game contains very mild violent behaviour used playfully by cartoon characters in a way that does not enable the child to make connections between such characters and actions, and reality.
(7)
General 1. Content does not violate public morality (images, actions, expressions)
2. The game contains fictional or human-like characters in a childish medium that may be disturbing for younger children.
Violence 1. The game contains a small amount of violent and horror scenes or sounds that have no direct impact on the child.
2. The game contains some scenes or sounds that are often scary to young children and may contain violent acts practiced by fictional or cartoon characters.
(12)
General This category contains more realistic fictional characters.
Violence 1. The game contains scenes that suggest using violence or virtual violence but does not show scenes or sounds of real violence.
2. Contains scenes with violent acts of a fictional nature, and contains human or non-human characters in situations that can be easily distinguished from real-life situations.
3. The game contains scenes of violence that appear to be realistic but are directed at fictional characters. The game does not contain scary sounds.
4. The game contains unrealistic (fictional) violence directed at human-like characters but does display images related injuries or harm
5. The game features scenes of violence, which occur in sports.
Language Contains acceptable expressions away from insulting and sexual expressions.
Sexual Content The game does not contain scenes and phrases that include sexually explicit innuendo, sexual descriptions or images, or any suggestive events.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse 1. The game contains scenes that refer to forms of smoking but does not directly encourage smoking in any of its forms.
2. The game does not contain scenes displaying any type of alcoholic substances or their abuse, or referring to them in any way.
3. The game does not contain scenes displaying any type of drugs or their abuse, or referring to them in any way.
Gambling The game does not contain scenes that include gambling or games related to gambling.
(16)
Violence 1. The game contains footage or scenes of aggressive conflicts or violent acts, but not violent acts involving brutal bloodshed and the aggressive and violent use of weapons.
2. Contains footage or scenes that contain blood but not violent scenes with bloodshed.
Language Contains footage, scenes, or dialogues that use bad language, away from strong, offensive, racist, or hateful expressions.
Sexual Content The game contains scenes and expressions that include explicit sexual innuendo, descriptions or images, or indirect sexually suggestive events.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse 1. The game contains forms of smoking and refers to smoking or shows images of it, but does not encourage it.
2. The game contains references to or shows images of drugs, but does not encourage their use directly.
3. The game contains references to or shows images of alcoholic substances, but does not encourage their use directly.
Gambling The game contains scenes referring to gambling, but does not teach gambling directly.
(18)
Violence The game contains images and scenes of actual combat, resembling what is experienced in reality, and may contain scenes of brutal bloodshed and the use of weapons violently to harm and kill humans directly.
Language 1. The game contains images or clips that contain some profane expressions, some suggestive and sexual innuendo, or expressions referring to violent behaviours, or drug and alcohol abuse.
2. The game contains scenes or clips that may contain jokes that are only suitable for adults, including sexually suggestive jokes.
Nudity and Sexual Content 1. The game contains partial nudity scenes.
2. The game contains scenes with partially sexual content (shown indirectly) or sexual thoughts expressed directly.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse 1. The game contains scenes that directly refer to or show narcotics or other harmful substances being used.
2. The game contains scenes that directly show alcohol being served or consumed.
Gambling The game contains scenes and images that refer to gambling but does not teach gambling directly.
(21)
Violence 1. The game contains very violent scenes, displaying brutality and terror that may cause players to experience shock and disgust.
2. The game contains scenes and clips, containing extreme bloodshed and mutilation.
Language 1. The game contains scenes that contain profane and sexually suggestive language.
2. The game contains jokes, sexual expressions and references suitable only for adults.
Nudity and Sexual Content 1. The game contains explicit sexually arousing language.
2. The game contains explicit scenes of nudity and sexual innuendo.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse The game contains scenes displaying explicit smoking and the abuse of alcohol, drugs or banned substances.
Gambling The game contains scenes and images that refer to gambling but does not teach gambling.

What is age classification for books and novels?

It indicates that the content of books and novels is suitable for a specific age group. The following age classifications apply to comic books and novels:
E 3-5 6-9 10-12 13+ 17+ 21+
All ages Children Children Older Children Adolescents Young people Adults
The following table shows details on age classifications for comic books and novels:
E - All Ages
General General content that presents knowledge in an interesting manner and includes positive messages and behaviours that take into account the integration of image and text, and focuses on explaining general concepts such as appropriate general information.
Violence 1. Does not contain violence or harmful behaviours, whether fictional or humorous.
2. Contains appropriate content for children, adolescents and adults alike.
3. Does not contain child abductions, shootings, natural disasters or separation of children from parents.
4. Does not include dramatic events or fictional conflicts.
Children (3-5)
General 1. Content that presents knowledge in an interesting manner and includes positive messages and behaviours that take into account the integration of image and text.
2. Simple stories containing few words that focus on explaining the basic concepts to children such as colours, shapes, numbers and letters, in addition to developing the child's perception and emotional intelligence
3. Educational books, songs, and simple games that promote cognitive and mental growth.
Violence 1. Does not contain violence or harmful behaviours, whether fictional or humorous.
2. Does not contain child abductions, shootings, natural disasters or separation of children from parents.
3. Does not include dramatic events or fictional conflicts.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Does not contain illustrations, images, or texts about alcohol and/or smoking.
Language Does not contain profanity or suggestive themes.
Children (6-9)
General Content that includes positive messages and behaviours that take into account the integration of image and text (fiction or fairy tales), can include dramatic events and fictional conflicts.
Violence 1. The book or novel contains a small amount of the violent and scary scenes or images that have no direct impact on the child.
2. The book or novel contains some scenes or images that are often scary for young children (under 6 years of age) that may include scenes of violent acts practiced by fictional or cartoon characters or animals.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Does not contain scenes, illustrations, images, or texts about alcohol abuse or smoking.
Language Does not contain profanity or suggestive themes.
Children (10-12)
Violence 1. Content does not violate public morality (images, actions, expressions).
2. The book or novel contains fictional or human-like characters illustrated as cartoons that may disturb younger children.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse 1. The book or novel does not contain scenes, images or texts that refer to any form of smoking nor directly encourage smoking in any of its forms.
2. The book or novel does not contain scenes, images or texts featuring any type of alcoholic substances or their abuse, or referring to them in any way.
3. The book or novel does not contain scenes, images or texts featuring any type of drugs or their abuse, or referring to them in any way.
Language Mild use of certain expressions with clear emotional connotations (words) and acceptable humour (free from hostile, religious, sexual or political humour).
Sexual Content The book does not contain texts and meanings that include explicit sexual innuendo, descriptions or images, or any sexually suggestive scenes
Gambling The book does not contain images or texts that teach gambling nor content that encourages gambling.
13+
General 1. Advanced content that may contain violence and a wider range of emotional and humorous connotations than that of that previous category.
2. Content does not violate public morality (images, actions, expressions).
Violence The book or novel contains fictional or human-like characters illustrated as cartoons, text, or images for older children, and may be disturbing to younger children as it contains some violent and scary scenes.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse 1. The book or novel does not contain scenes, images or texts that refer to any form of smoking nor directly encourage smoking in any of its forms.
2. The book or novel does not contain scenes, images or texts featuring any type of alcoholic substances or their abuse, or referring to them in any way.
3. The book or novel does not contain scenes, images or texts featuring any type of drugs or their abuse, or referring to them in any way.
Language Contains acceptable expressions away from insulting and sexual expressions.
Sexual Content The book or novel does not contain scenes and phrases that include sexually explicit innuendo, sexual descriptions or images, or any suggestive events.
Gambling The book or novel does not contain any content that teaches readers gambling or encourages it.
Older young people (17+)
Violence The book or novel contains images and scenes of actual combat, resembling what is experienced in reality, and may contain scenes of brutal bloodshed and the use of weapons violently to harm and kill humans directly.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse 1. The book or novel contains scenes, images or texts that refer to forms of smoking but does not directly encourage smoking in any of its forms.
2. The book or novel contains references to or scenes, images or texts featuring alcoholic substances, but does not encourage their use directly.
3. The book or novel does not contain scenes, images or texts featuring any type of drugs or their abuse, or referring to them in any way.
Language 1. The book or novel contains images or clips that contain some profane expressions, some suggestive and sexual innuendo, or expressions referring to violent behaviours, or drug and alcohol abuse.
2. The book or novel contains scenes or clips that may contain jokes that are only suitable for adults, including sexually suggestive jokes.
Nudity and Sexual Content 1. This classification applies only if violent or sexual content reaches a realistic level, yet still does not include explicit sexual images and acts.
2. Does not contain sexual images, illustrations, or expressions. 3. Does not contain images or illustrations of physical organs. 4. Does not contain any form of nudity.
Gambling The book or novel does not contain any content that teaches readers gambling or encourages it.
21+
Violence 1. The book or novel contains very violent scenes, displaying brutality and terror that may cause readers to experience shock and disgust.
2. Contains forms of discrimination and hatred but does not encourage them.
3. The book contains images, illustrations or texts with violent bloodshed and mutilation.
Smoking, Alcohol and Substance Abuse 1. The book contains images, illustrations or texts directly featuring smoking and alcohol abuse.
2. The book contains images, illustrations or texts featuring indirect use of drugs.
Language 1. The book or novel contains scenes that contain profane and sexually suggestive language.
2. The book or novel contains jokes, sexual expressions and references suitable only for adults.
Nudity and Sexual Content 1. The book contains non-pornographic romantic sexual themes.
2. The book contains images with partial nudity.
Gambling The book does not contain images or texts that teach gambling nor content that encourages gambling.

What are the general provisions of this system?

1. The age classification for all materials shall be complied with as determined by the Council and in accordance with permission given under the provisions of this system.
2. No amendment may be made to the media content or age classification permitted for circulation by the Council, in accordance with the provisions of this system. The Council may consider any amendment to be a violation, which requires legal action.
3. The Council may make any amendment, whether addition, deletion or modification, to the standards and conditions stipulated in this system.
4. The Council may issue a decision to stop or prohibit the printing, circulation or entry of the publication into the country provided that it contains a violation of the principles and standards of the media content or was not permitted by the Council, in accordance with the provisions of this System.
5. The Council may take the necessary measures to implement any decision issued pursuant to the provisions of item (4) of this Article.

Has the Ministry of Education played a role in developing this system?

The Ministry of Education, along with the competent authorities, undertakes the task of identifying the age groups for textbooks related to the curricula.

What are the violations and penalties?

Without prejudice to any administrative action or penalty stipulated in the relevant legislation, the Council may, in the event of a violation of the provisions of this system, sign any of the sanctions stipulated in Resolution No. 27 of 2017 concerning the Executive Regulation of Media Content.

Is it allowed to submit grievances against this system? Who would receive these grievances?

Any interested party may submit a written grievance to the Director General concerning any decision issued pursuant to the provisions of this system, in accordance with the conditions stipulated in Resolution No. 27 of 2017 concerning the Executive Regulation of Media Content.

Is it possible to repeal any provision that violates or contradicts the provisions of this System?

Any provision violating or conflicting with the provisions of this system shall be repealed.

Who is responsible for implementing this System? When will it be implemented?

The relevant authorities shall cooperate to implement this system, each within its jurisdiction, and it shall be come into effect on the date of its issue.