UAE unveils new set of regulations for electronic media.
According to guidelines issued by National Media Council on February 28, 2018; any news websites, electronic publishing outlets, on-demand printing and all commercial activities conducted through social media within UAE will need to register and have a license before the end of June.
Social media influencers or bloggers (whether individual or institution) who promote brands, businesses and products for cash will also need to get a license from the National Media Council (NMC). However, normal media influencers who just share everyday stuff with their followers don’t require a license. They can suggest restaurants etc. as long as they are doing it for free.
Global companies who sell media content online while operating from abroad can now obtain a license and open branch offices in UAE.
Social media influencing has become big business for personalities e.g. Huda Kattan @hudabeauty who has large number of followings on Instagram and commands fees of tens or hundreds of thousands of dirhams for promotional posts.
The new regulations have been set forth in order to,
- Professionalize and regulate the industry
- Keeping electronic media up-to-speed with regards to all technological developments that have transformed media in current times
- To enhance transparency and reliability of social media which is one of fastest growing sectors in Middle East
- To ensure that standards are high, earnings are above board and by regulating this sector in turn attract new global investment in UAE
- Regulations apply to all electronic media activities carried out within UAE, including those in free zones
- Online firms in UAE operating without licenses have been granted 3 months to make sure their activities completely conform to the new regulations.
- Penalties for failing to comply with regulations or violating the media law will result in fines up to Dh5,000 ,verbal or official warning, or closure of SMI websites or social media accounts.
How to Secure Social Media Influencer (SMI) Permit from NMC?
If you are a social media influencer and want to make business out of blogging in UAE, you will need a permit and trade license and Emirates ID (which means you should have a UAE residence visa). There are two ways to obtain the permit,
Option I: As an individual (when SMI does not have company license)
This option allows an SMI to apply directly through NMC. SMI can get a Tax Registration Number (TRN) in case earnings go above threshold. The downside is SMI cannot have a business bank account.
Option II: As a company
This option does not allow SMI to apply directly through NMC rather registering free zone will process permit on behalf of company. If SMI has an online store, E-commerce license will also be required. The benefit of this option is that you can have business bank account to maintain cash flow and financial independence. For VAT reporting purpose, you can invoice clients and keep transaction records. In order to procure NMC Permit; once you submit all the documents, it will take maximum 2 days.
Read More: How to Obtain License for E-commerce Business in Dubai
If you are a paid social media influencer or blogger, KWSME can assist you in securing the National Media Council permit and obtaining trade license in UAE. Our professional and experienced team helps clients at every stage of their company formation in UAE.
To understand more about your obligations as holder of the NMC permit, the use of the license and the application requirement, visit our website at KWSME OR call our UAE business setup consultants on 00971- (04) 871 4313 OR send us an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.