What is National Media Council?

The National Media Council, NMC, is an independent federal authority established under Federal Law by Decree No. 01 of 2006, amending some provisions of Federal Law No. 01 of 1972. It is the revised law for the Ministry of Information and Cultural Affairs with respect to media affairs.

What are the terms of reference of the National Media Council?

Under Cabinet decision No. 09 of 2013, the Council shall have the following mandates:

1. Fulfilling all media affairs of the State and highlighting the concept of national unity as a political entity to ensure tranquillity and stability for citizens.

2. Overseeing all media in the country.

3. Highlighting the positions of the State in the Arab and international forums and receive media representatives and correspondents of newspapers and international news agencies, providing them with necessary information and brochures to inform the public on the stances of the State in various fields.

4. Representing the State at conferences and media events both within the country and abroad.

5. Providing media licensing to media organisations in the country.

6. Following-up media content for all printed, published and broadcasted media which is done in the country and media content imported from abroad.

7. Conducting research and media studies.

8. Supporting and developing Emirati media personnel.

What are the services provided by the National Media Council?

The National Media Council provides major services, most notably:

1. News services through the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

2. Media licensing services through the Department of Media Licensing.

3. Management of the following-up of all media content.

4. Foreign Information services represented by the admission of foreign correspondents and invitation of media delegations from various countries around the world to visit the State.

How many Media Free Zones are in the State?

There are four Media Free Zones: Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority, twofour54 Abu Dhabi Media Zone, Fujairah Media Zone and RAK Media Free Zone.

How long is the period of validity of a Media licence?

The period of a media licence is one year and the licence holder may apply for a licence for a period of three years and should pay the fees for three years.

In which year was the first annual year book of the State issued?

The first year book was issued in 1975.

Does the owner of a Media licence have the right to renew the licence at any time?

In implementation of Cabinet decision No. 12 for the year 2013 on fees for media services:

1. The renewal of a Media licence within 30 days from the date of expiry will not incur any fines, but the owner of the licence must pay the due renewal fee.

2. In cases where the owner of the licence wishes to renew after 30 days from the date of expiry, a fine of AED50 will be imposed for each day of the delay subject to a maximum fine, plus the value of the imposed fee of the new licence.

3. The holder of a Media licence has the right to cancel the licence within 30 days of its expiry date for a fee of AED100 to issue a certificate of licence cancellation.

What are the documents required to apply for a licence for newspapers?

1. Name, surname, nationality and place of residence of the applicant (including a copy of the family book and passport).

2. Name of the Editor-in-Chief or responsible editors and publishers, if any, including the surname of all, their age, nationality, place of residence and qualifications.

3. Name of the newspaper and its language of publishing, dates of issuance, its address and description.

4. The name of the printing press that prints the newspaper, if it does not have its own.

5. The licence application should be signed by the owner of the newspaper, the Editor-in-Chief, responsible editors or the publisher, if any.

6. A deposited bank guarantee of AED50,000 (Fifty Thousand Dirhams) made for the benefit of the NMC.

7. Pledge to abide by the laws and regulations in force, including the Press and Publications Law, and of the procedures and terms and conditions issued by the National Media Council, as well as a commitment to the policy of the State.

8. Payment of the prescribed fees.

What are the documents required to apply for a licence for a magazine?

1. Fill out a form of issuance for a new magazine licence, signed by the applicant or the person authorised to do so.

2. Copy of passport, a summary of registration and three photographs of the applicant and Editor-in-Chief.

3. Copy of qualifications for the applicant and Editor-in-Chief.

4. A bank guarantee of AED25,000 (Twenty-five Thousand Dirhams), which is irrevocable and non-specific.

5. In case the applicant does not work for the publication, he or she should sign acknowledgment number 2.

6. Bring a working draft copy of the publication.

7. A "To Whom It May Concern" letter from the employer to the applicant and Editor-in-Chief (in the case of working in a governmental or semi-governmental entity).

8. Payment of the required charges with the e-Dirham Card.

What are the documents required for the issuance of radio or TV broadcasting licence?

The application for acquiring a broadcasting licence must be submitted in accordance with the forms prepared by the NMC and the application should have the following attachments:

1. The proposed name of the channel or station, details of its main centre of operations and the language of broadcasting.

2. Detailed data about the applicant (person or company) and partners, if any, and those who will work with the applicant, including their previous experience and detailed data on the sources of funding.

3. Documents to prove the financial ability of the applicant to cover the expenses of incorporation and in particular, the expenses of the first year.

4. Feasibility study from recognised sources.

5. Technical, operational and programming plans for the required licence must be submitted when applying for a licence and upon its renewal.

6. Technical study includes types of services to be provided by broadcasting activity and the geographical area it covers, the techniques used in the provision of such services, taking into account the importance of the adoption of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the technical specifications and techniques used in the broadcast.

7. Encourage employing national media cadres in the organisation for which the licence is required.

8. Pledge to specify programmes (in case of local radio and television stations that broadcast in non-Arabic languages) to support the interests of national development in the United Arab Emirates and to clarify the policy of the State in various fields.

9. If the applicant is a company, it must be an institution in accordance with the laws and regulations in force in the State, in that the capital of the company should be AED 2 million (in case of a radio service request) or AED 5 million (in case of a television service request).

10. Any data and other studies requested by the Council.

What are the documents required for a licence for book publishing?

- For Institutions: application form for publishing, a copy of media and business licences as well as a copy of the book.

- For individuals: a copy of the book, an identity card and a registration certificate from the office of the intellectual works in case of exclusive agency.

Is it necessary for an applicant for media licensing to have a qualification?

Educational certificate or qualification is not required for an applicant except in cases of licences for newspapers, magazines and the re-printing or republishing of them, and licences of printing houses.


What are the main elements of the Cabinet decision No. 12 of 2013 on charges of media services?

1. ​The decision includes several major elements. The first lists the specifications required for commercial media licences provided by the Council and their related fees. They include 48 licences, such as licences for importing and distributing books, licences for magazines and newspapers intended for distribution, licences for the private media service office, the body responsible for collecting news, writing news reports and analysis.

2. The Council plans to provide these services to its subscribers and to the offices of news agencies, as well as issue licences for the import and distribution by audio means (cassettes, cds, data files etc.), issue licences for the import and distribution by visual means (videos, VCD, DVD�s, data files etc.), and licences for film and visual productions as well as licences for advertisement banners, advertisement productions and design.

3. The decision in its second element includes media activities that require permission from the National Media Council to practice, and the required fees for them. These activities refer to 13 kinds of permissions, including permission to release or distribute films, the release of screenplays, permission for publishing weekly or monthly magazines and daily or weekly newspapers.

4. The decision in its third element stipulates the fees for the sale of 19 forms of informational material provided by the Council through the Emirates News Agency (WAM), such as the selling of photographs and film or video material, including the cost of delivery of same.

5. The fourth element of the decision refers to determining the fees for the services of foreign correspondents, where the decision stipulates two types of guarantee cards, the first is temporary for six months and the second lasting for a period of one year only.

6. The resolution included a fifth element regarding the identification of administrative fines for a number of violations, such as those relating to the exercise of any of media activities contained therein without prior permission, in addition to identifying a fine for everyone who sells copied content by audio or visual means, and everyone who does not abide to obtaining necessary permissions for publishing, as well as anyone who does not abide by the advertising controls set by the National Media Council.

What are the specific criteria for advertisings in the media?

Article No. 04 of the decision of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the National Media Council, refers to a list of criteria for advertising content in media sources, stipulated standards that media licence holders must adhere to, with respect to advertisements published and broadcast by them, and advertisements which do not abide by these standards will be considered contrary to this decision. These criteria are:

1. Not to blaspheme, not to offend Islamic beliefs and show respect for other religions.

2. Respecting government regimes in the United Arab Emirates and its symbols, as well as its political institutions.

3. Respecting the cultural heritage and civilisation of the U.A.E..

4. Not to offend national unity, social cohesion or incite sectarianism and tribalism.

5. Respecting the policies pursued by the United Arab Emirates at both the domestic level and at the level of its relations with other countries.

6. Not to offend the economic system in the State and not to spread rumours or tendentious and misleading news.

7. Respecting government policies to promote its national identity.

8. Respecting the principles and code of ethics in media work.

9. Not to publish or broadcast information that harms children and women or any other social group, and not to incite hatred and violence.

10. Not to publish obscene pictures or words.

11. It is not allowed to advertise in any way the work of witchcraft or astrology.

12. Take into account the conditions and controls concern the flag of the State, its slogan and national anthem.

13. Respecting intellectual property rights.

14. Abide by the rules of ethical conduct and standards of honesty, including compliance with the rules that govern business work, particularly with regard to controls of consumer protection, fair competition and the prohibition of commercial fraud and illegal monopoly.

15. Not to allow advertising for alcoholic beverages or banned narcotic substances in any way, whether directly or indirectly.

16. Not to allow advertising of tobacco products or show smoking in any manner, and any other services or products which are prohibited in advertisements.

17. Commitment to the controls of health or medicine advertisements contained in the Cabinet�s decision No.04 of the year 2007 on health advertisements.


As stipulated in Article 05 of the regulations on the conditions to be observed in advertising and thus all advertising that does not comply with these conditions will be considered contrary to this Article. These conditions are:

1. Advertisements should not be ambiguous or obscure or not have a clear indication of its purpose.

2. Advertisements should not include or contain incorrect or misleading claims, or intentionally exaggerate, claim exclusivity, show contempt of any rival as this action comprises suspicion of fraud and deception.

3. Advertisements should not include imitated or unlawfully placed advertising signs or signals, forged or fake pictures.

4. Advertisements must be real and not exaggerated and not lead to the creation of confusion or a mixing up in any way with names, products, or other activities.

5. If the Arabic language is to be used in advertisements, it should be classical Arabic or the Emirati local dialect.

6. Obtaining or getting prior approval from the competent authorities in all matters relating to specialised advertisements, such as those related to medicines and drugs, those related to food or business regarding promotional campaigns, and special offers related to real estate, universities and educational institutions, nurseries and alike.

7. The identify of advertisements should be clearly specified and appear distinct and independent of the editorial material and other media, setting limits separating advertising from any other material therein, or an intervening time in the case of radio and television broadcasting.

What are the procedures that can be taken by the NMC in the event of the publication or broadcast of a contrary advertisement?

Without prejudice to any sanctions or procedures set forth in the applicable laws, the Council has the right to take any of the following actions if any advertisements are found in violation:

1. Warning.

2. Halt to advertising and issuance of an apology.

3. Order restitution for any damages resulting from the violation.

4. Request to close the facility, shop, business etc. for which the advertisement was placed.

5. Halt licences for media sources for a duration that the council sees fit.

6. Cancel the licence granted to the source of media.