The UAE will now require anyone conducting ‘commercial activities’ through social media to register for a government-issued licence.
The new rules apply to the ‘social media influencers’ who use their internet fame to advertise products.
National Media Council’s Director General, Mansour Ibrahim Al Mansouri, explained that the new regulations would help to promote and develop an advanced legislative and regulatory environment for the UAE media sector.
“Today, electronic media has become a highly influential and widespread tool; it is imperative that we enhance its reliability. Digital media is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Middle East, especially videos, games and e-books. Regulating this sector will attract new global investments, which, in turn, will improve its development and competitiveness,” he said in news agency WAM report.
As per media reports, those affected need to register by the end of June or face 5,000-dirham (USD 1,360) fines.
The new guidelines apply to news websites, electronic publishing outlets, and on-demand printing, including commercial activities conducted through social media within the UAE.
Websites of licensed traditional media (television, radio, newspapers and magazines) do not need to secure new licences while the websites of government, universities and schools are excluded from the system, Mr Al Mansouri said.