Gone are the days when you could promote your brands, businesses and products for free on social and electronic media in UAE. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy this privilege anymore! As per the new Electronic Media Regulations, paid influencers are required to obtain a licence from the National Media Council (NMC) to promote brands for money. Under the new rule, more than 600 registrations were filed in a span of five days.
The new regulation applies to news websites, electronic publishing outlets, and on-demand printing, that includes commercial activities via social media. The rule does not apply for normal media influencers who just share everyday stuff with their followers and also for brands that promote their own products on social media.
Influencers are people who have a mass following on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. If an influencer uses social media to carry out a business transaction or any form of advertising that renders a profit, then he should have a media license. Prior to applying for a new e-media license, they should possess a trade license. In UAE, an influencer is deemed as the owner of the content they promote on social media.
If an influencer is registered under an agency or media company, he need not bother applying for an e-media license as the company’s license will cover them. Before signing an influencer, these agencies should obtain the license.
The e-media license comes at a price of Dh 15, 000, which requires an annual renewal for the same price. Failure to obtain a license will result in a fine of minimum Dh 5,000.
Even though the move came as a shock initially for influencers, they have welcomed it with open arms. Media license will help in the better organization of digital content. It also ensures that the media material is in accordance with the religious, cultural and social values of the emirate.
New licenses are not required for websites of licensed traditional media such as newspapers, television, radio and magazines. Other exemptions include, websites of government, universities and schools. Personal accounts and blogs won’t be affected by the new regulations as long as they are not commercial in nature.
With the latest amendments, let’s hope to witness more transparent and responsible brand promotions via social media in the future.