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The Na­tional Me­dia Coun­cil has is­sued an of­fi­cial ad­ver­tis­ing guide to clar­ify stan­dards for con­tent pro­duced by ad­ver­tis­ers in the UAE.

It pro­hibits al­co­hol ad­ver­tis­ing ei­ther di­rectly (as has long been the case) or obliquely.

The guide­lines also ap­ply to brands us­ing so­cial me­dia, and to in­flu­encers, and say all paid con­tent must be la­belled as such with hash­tags such as “#ad” or “#paid_ad”. Thank­ing spon­sors or writ­ing “in co­op­er­a­tion with...” is in­suf­fi­cient.

Rashid Al Nuaimi, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of me­dia af­fairs at the coun­cil, said: “The rapid growth of the global me­dia sec­tor has seen the ad­ver­tis­ing sec­tor in the UAE play an ev­er­in­creas­ing role in driv­ing the econ­omy. It con­trib­utes to the in­crease of prod­uct con­sump­tion, which in turn leads to an in­crease in pro­duc­tion out­put – a fun­da­men­tal as­pect of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. It also has an im­por­tant role in terms of so­cial util­ity, as ef­fec­tive ad­ver­tis­ing can sup­port cul­tural her­itage and the civil­i­sa­tion of the state.”

The guide stresses that ad­ver­tis­ers “should not harm the eco­nomic sys­tem of the state, should not spread ru­mours or bi­ased and mis­lead­ing news, should not pub­lish im­ages or words that vi­o­late pub­lic moral­ity, should re­spect in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, should main­tain eth­i­cal codes of con­duct and should up­hold stan­dards of hon­esty”. They are also re­quired to com­ply with rules gov­ern­ing con­sumer pro­tec­tion and fair com­pe­ti­tion con­trols, com­mer­cial fraud and le­gal monopoly.

Ad­ver­tis­ing of al­co­hol, nar­cotics and to­bacco in any form is pro­hib­ited, and prior ap­proval should be sought for ad­ver­tise­ments that re­late to health, ed­u­ca­tion and real es­tate.

The new guide em­pha­sises that ad­ver­tise­ments must not be vague, am­bigu­ous or un­clear, should not con­tain false or mis­lead­ing claims, should not use fal­si­fied im­ages and should not ex­ag­ger­ate the prod­uct or ser­vice be­ing ad­ver­tised.

The guide­lines say any­one ad­ver­tis- ing on­line must be li­censed, though ex­emp­tions in­clude “char­i­ta­ble and vol­un­teer ac­tiv­i­ties, free-of-charge ad­ver­tis­ing con­ducted on a non-com­mer­cial ba­sis and any other ac­tiv­i­ties the coun­cil deems ex­empt”.

Al­though the guide­lines are not law, fail­ure to com­ply will in­cur a fine of AED5,000, with late- pay­ment charges up to dou­ble that amount.

#spon­sored: In­flu­encers must now tag paid posts

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