The Federal National Council on Tuesday passed a federal bill regulating responsibilities of National Media Council.
According to Article 2 of the Bill, NMC is a federal government body affiliated with the Cabinet and has a corporate character and a mandate to undertake the responsibilities of overseeing and supervising media in the UAE. It has the legal capacity to undertake all activities to ensure achievement of its goals.
The council also approved two other bills on fees levied by federal courts and amendments to Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2012 on combating cybercrimes.
Article 3 states that the NMC will have its headquarters in Abu Dhabi City and will set up branches and offices inside and outside the UAE.
The approval of the bills came at a session chaired by Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of FNC and attended by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, Chairman of the Board of National Media Council and Director-General of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc); Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi, Minister of Justice; and Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs.
Dr. Al Jaber said he was proud to attend the FNC session and praised the body's members for their enthusiasm, interest in and knowledge about the importance of the media sector and the role being played by the NMC.
"This will facilitate NMC's work. I fully understand the role of the members. We recognise the fact that chalking up media policy is something that cannot be achieved without the participation of all federal and local departments," said Al Jaber.
He said the NMC agrees on all observations and proposals made by the FNC’s relevant body after extensive consultations with the country's media organisations.
FNC Speaker stressed that the legislative body provides full support to NMC as the largest strategic partner involved in covering FNC's activities and its role in discussing issues that are important for nationals and members of the community.
Al Jaber said the bill came amid developments in media sectors both domestically and internationally and after the NMC was tasked with new national responsibilities.
"This makes it necessary to issue a modern law to regulate work, chart and co-ordinate media policy that is consistent with the general goals of the UAE, manage the country's international image and defend its achievements and ambitions," he added.
The bill, he said, provides an appropriate legal foundation for dealing with modern media activities. "Regionally as well as internationally, the UAE is now one of the richest communities in terms of media content, which makes it necessary to enact legislation maximising the benefit from this media richness."
Recommendations issued by the FNC in 2013 were instrumental in proposing the said bill on media.
"At NMC, we believe that teamwork is innovative and cannot be restricted by inflexible frameworks and centralised authorities with direct powers. That is why we fully recognise the importance of the national role that we should play as a regulator, and as an overseeing and coordinating body without interfering in the executive affairs of national media organisations that contribute towards the overall development taking place in the UAE."
According to Article 4 of the bill, objectives of the NMC are to:
1- Develop the UAE's media policy.
2- Draft media legislation and ensure execution.
3- Co-ordinate media policy between the emirates in line with the UAE's domestic and foreign policy to ensure support for the Federation of the UAE and project national unity.
According to Article 5, NMC's scope of jurisdiction includes the following:
1- Develop and execute required policies and plans to develop the media sector.
2- Propose bills and regulations relating to the work of the Council in coordination with the relevant authorities in the country.
3- Propose regulations, standards and foundations required for licensing and accrediting media outlets and their staff and activities including e-publishing.
4- Issue rules and regulations that ensure the achievement of the Council's goals in line with the controls it specifies.
5- Coordinate with the authorities of media free zones on developing an organisational framework to regulate the Council's relationship with these zones.
6- Represent UAE at media meetings, events and activities in and outside the UAE.
7- Undertake any other responsibilities specified by laws and the Cabinet's regulations and resolutions.