Individuals and institutions who carry out commercial activities on social media have been warned they must be fully complaint with new electronic media regulations before the end of May.
A workshop hosted by the National Media Council in Abu Dhabi explained the new measures, due to be enacted at the start of June. It emphasised the importance of obtaining the mandatory e-media licence.
Under the terms of the new law, influencers and other e-media businesses had three months to become licensed, through applications to the NMC's website by the first week in June. The permit relates to commercial activities that are conducted via visual and print media, advertising and news websites, electronic publishing and on-demand printing, including activities promoted through social media.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules will have their social media accounts and related websites or blogs shut down, as well as being hit with fines of up to Dh5,000.
“The Electronic Media Regulations form an essential component of regulating the media sector and have been enacted as a response to the rapid growth and spread of electronic media," said Dr Rashid Al Nuaimi, the council’s Executive Director of Media Affairs.
“The aim of the regulations is to enhance competitiveness, increase reliability and support the provision of balanced, responsible and impartial media content that respects the privacy of individuals and protects society’s various segments from negative influences.”
The National revealed last week that influencers who make money from promoting brands will need two licences under the new regulations costing Dh30,000, leading some to question whether it will still be financially worthwhile for them – a trade licence is needed before they can apply for the special e-media licence.
Plans to regulate the industry were first announced in March. At the time, it was not immediately clear what would be required of influencers, but media lawyers have since received clarification on the regulations.
“The NMC requires the licensing of individuals who have accounts on social media and who conduct activities that are commercial in nature, such as advertisements that are done on a paid-for basis.
“Accounts, blogs and personal pages are not subject to these new regulations, including the accounts of influencers on social media, provided they are not commercial in nature. Individuals and organisations that voluntarily promote work are not affected by the electronic media regulations,” said Dr Al Nuaimi.
He called on all institutions, companies and individuals who engage in activities of a commercial nature to register with the NMC before the May 31, saying: “We are constantly seeking to strengthen our partnership with the various components of the media sector.”