April 12, 2018 - Earlier this month, the National Media Council in the United Arab Emirates announced the passage of Electronic Media Activity Regulation Resolution 2018, which creates a licensing system for any entity that is involved in "E-Media." The regulation defines "E-Media" as "media activity that is practiced through the tools and means of electronic publication," which should include online business, online advertisers, and influencers.

As a result of this new regulation, influencers and other companies operating online in the UAE must now be licensed.

"These changes will affect a large number of people in this market, as the number of influencers has been growing steadily," said Fiona Robertson, Senior Associate of Al Tamimi & Co in the UAE. "Marketing managers need to be aware of these changes so that they can address that issue within their contracts and procurement systems."

While the new regulation covers online advertising broadly, it does not appear that it is intended to cover entities which facilitate publication by third parties, such as Facebook or Instagram. However, any entity that uses an online platform to sell goods, create a marketplace, or otherwise engage in the media activity noted in the resolution will have to obtain a license. The National Media Council has allowed three months for entities to become compliant.

"Regulators around the world are increasing their attention on influencer marketing practices," said GALA Chairman Jeffrey A. Greenbaum, who is Managing Partner of Frankfurt Kurnit in New York City. "When working with influencers globally, it's critical that marketers understand the local rules that may apply."

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