Films, books, videos, electronic games and other media in the UAE are now required to display a rating symbol that classifies the content according to the age suitable to consume the material.
The new age classification system, announced Tuesday by the National Media Council in Abu Dhabi, aims at protecting children from being exposed to age-inappropriate, potentially harmful artistic work while preserving the values and cultural heritage of the UAE society.
“This will ensure balanced and responsible media content that respects the privacy of individuals and protects the various segments of society from the harmful effects of any creative and media works,” said Dr Rashid Al Nuaimi, executive director of media affairs at the NMC.
“Practitioners of licensed media activities in the country are required to classify the content of their publications and activities through specific symbols to ensure they are compatible with the values of the community. "
The NMC has identified a set of symbols for films and video content; electronic and video games, including those played online; and books, comic books and novels that must accompany products to inform consumers of their respective age suitability.
Films and videos will be rated from G, or general viewing, to PG, PG13, PG15, 15+ and 18+.
The video game rating applies to the content of any game played on an Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, personal computer, online platform or mobile phone. The symbol for video games include 3, 7, 12, 16, 18 and 21.
Books, comic books and novels will have a classification of E, for all ages; 3-5, 6-9, 10-12, 13+, 17+ and 21+.
The NMC has already implemented the system at cinemas, public libraries and at shopping malls and is now raising awareness of the age classification system among media companies and professionals.
“The system aims mainly at protecting children and young people from exposure to content that is not suitable for their age and helps them to choose the right classification with the right content for them,” said Dr Al Nuaimi. “We are now working on raising awareness about the age classification system across the media.”