All you need to know about the new media license




Individuals and companies using electronic media for commercial purposes need to get a media license from the National Media Council (NMC) until 1 June 2018.

An increasing number of users is on social media every day. There are 1 billion on Facebook, 500 million on Twitter, 150 million on LinkedIn and 11 million on Pinterest. Therefore, more and more businesses concentrate on social media, doing e-advertisement, selling their online courses or being social media influencers, promoting products and services to gain revenue. 

Who needs to apply for a media license?

The National Media Council recently unveiled new regulations for electronic media, covering online advertising as well as online publishing and online selling of print, video and audio material. Companies and individuals having social media accounts and conducting these commercial activities, for example advertisements on a paid-for basis, need to have a media license with the National Media Council.

The new electronic media regulations apply for individuals and companies monetizing online and via social media in the UAE, including the ones based in free zones. Unfortunately, the term “electronic media activity” is not clearly defined, but the regulations list four activities that need to be licensed. These activities are as follows:

• Websites for trading, offering and selling of audio-visual and print material
• On-demand electronic publishing and printing
• Specialized websites (e-advertising, news sites, etc.)
• Any electronic activity that the NMC may determine to add

It could be possible that a wide range of activities will fall within the scope of “electronic media activities” and consequently would need to be licensed by the National Media Council. For now, the NMC seems to target on the activities mentioned above.

What should social media influencers do?

For sure, the new electronic media regulations will be enforced on influencers. Youtubers, Instagram Photographers and Facebook Influencers have grown from the average individual to superstars with thousands of followers. They are promoting products and services and often charge up to 5,000 AED for one single post. Now, influencers generating revenues by promoting content, need to have a media license. 

According to the law, influencers must also provide another license to apply for a media license. They could go for the new RAKEZ Freelancer License or get licensed by Dubai Creative Clusters or twofour54 in Abu Dhabi, before registering for the media license with the National Media Council. 

How much is the media license?

The media license registration fees depend on the specific activity. Influencers will most likely pay 15,000 AED (yearly renewal fees 15,000 AED), while e-publishers will be charged 3,500 AED only (yearly renewal fees 3,500 AED). The registration for the media license is offered through all NMC offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, UAQ, Fujairah and RAK.

The registration fees and yearly renewal fees are mentioned in the new electronic media regulations. For your kind information, please find the regulations here:

Who does not need a media license?

The new electronic media regulations apply for individuals and companies generating revenue from online advertising, online publishing or online selling of print, video and audio material.

Please note that websites of licensed traditional media (like television, radio, newspapers and magazines) already fall under the provisions of the electronic media regulations and are not required to apply for a new license. 

Please also note that accounts, blogs and personal pages are not subject to the new electronic media regulations, if they are non-commercial in nature. Individuals and organizations that voluntarily promote work are also not affected by the electronic media regulations.