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Advertising Regulations and Standards in the United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), advertising is regulated under Federal Law No. 15 of 1980 Concerning Press and Publications, which sets standards for media content across various platforms, including audio, visual, print, and digital media . This law mandates that all local media comply with national standards, which prohibit content that could harm Islam, the UAE government, or public morals. Specific prohibitions include the defamation of UAE leaders or friendly nations, and content that could disrupt public order or advocate subversive ideas.

Additional regulations are highlighted in the Advertising Guidelines issued by the National Media Council (NMC). These guidelines require that advertisements must not include false or misleading claims, must not use derogatory comparisons, and must respect intellectual property rights. The use of Arabic language is mandated, along with clear identification of the advertiser to maintain transparency.
Prohibited practices include advertising for alcohol, narcotics, tobacco products, and services related to these products. Moreover, advertisements should not promote sorcery, astrology, or include obscene content.

The UAE also emphasises the separation of advertising from editorial content, particularly in media like social media, where hashtags such as #ad or #paid_ad are used to distinguish promotional content.
Overall, the advertising landscape in the UAE is tightly controlled with a focus on maintaining public order, respecting cultural and religious norms, and ensuring honest and respectful business practices. Compliance with these regulations is crucial for advertisers operating within the UAE.