ABU DHABI, 14th January 2017 (WAM) – Mansour Al Mansouri, Director General of National Media Council, stressed that 2016 was a breakthrough year for National Media Council in terms of the implementation of many major initiatives, legislations, performance development strategies and services provided to stake holders.

Al Mansouri said the various initiatives implemented last year were aimed at enhancing the standards of the media sector in the country and that these were done in coordination with national media institutions, which fully cooperated with the Council.

“These achievements in the past one year were in sync with the UAE national agenda. The most important among these was the issuance of the federal law No 11 for 2016, which delineated the mandate of the National Media Council to develop the media sector in the country, promoting the values of moderation and tolerance on the one hand and curbing the menace of extremism on the other. This was coterminous with the march of progress that the UAE experienced in various spheres of life,” he explained.

The NMC Director General pointed out that the work over the past year also included putting in place the required regulations on licensing and media content, which the Cabinet is expected to issue shortly. “These new regulations will cover several media activities previously not included, such as e-media, re-publishing of titles already out abroad, renewal of media licenses and their consolidation into a single decision and so on. These will also give the Council the authority to suspend, reject or cancel licenses in the event of violation of the terms and conditions,” he added.

“The Council has also developed, in collaboration with its strategic partners, a system for online media and age classification for books, video games, films and other digital content. This will be announced shortly. Another important development in the past one year was the intensification of the process of media briefing on crucial topics of national importance. Seven such briefings took place over the year, strengthening the relationship between heads of the media and the officials,” Al Mansouri explained.

Speaking about the role of National Media in UAE’s participation in Expo international exhibitions, Al Mansouri said the Council had accredited the design of UAE pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai. As for Expo Astana, which will take place June 10 – September 11, 2017 under the slogan of ‘Future Energy’, Al Mansouri stated that the UAE pavilion would be one of the largest, highlighting the efforts of UAE and its future strategy in the field of renewable energy.

Al Mansouri also pointed to the complete transformation of the Council’s online services for the customers, bringing the rate of smart services to 95% in 2016 from 2% in 2015. He said that the Council established a unified call centre (600535558) which received more than 5,000 calls. Moreover, in August 2016 the Council federally launched the first application for customers’ happiness indicator. It collects the opinions and suggestions of the customers about the services provided by the “Customer Happiness centres” and helps improve them to the highest quality, efficiency and transparency standards.

“The past year also saw a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of WAM, the Emirates News Agency, and the activation of a development plan to enhance its performance. The electronic platform was redesigned to facilitate more interactive activities with agency partners,” Al Mansouri pointed out. He also revealed that the Council issued in 2016 2,588 media licenses, 40,945 permits to publish books and magazines and permissions for print materials, 11,473 permits to allow media shipments through the ports and 593 approvals to screen movies in the local cinemas.

National Media Council (NMC) is an independent federal body established in 2006. Its role is to develop a national strategy for the development of the media sector in the United Arab Emirates and to enhance the country’s reputation.

NMC is committed to maintain and improve UAE’s position at various levels and ensure the integration of roles to achieve higher standards in the national media. Its message is based on the UAE’s fundamental values of moderation and tolerance.

Moreover, the Council prepares the necessary regulations, standards and foundations related to the work, licensing and accreditation of the media companies and their employees. NMC also coordinates with the Free Zones media authorities to develop a regulatory framework therein.

The Council proposes draft laws and prepares the necessary regulations to govern the practice of media activities, in addition to the follow-up of media content in various traditional and digital platforms.