The UAE Government actively encourages a dynamic media sector throughout the country. As a result, media institutions in the UAE have made considerable progress quantitatively and qualitatively in recent years. The National Media Council, under the chairmanship of Minister of State, Sultan bin Jaber, provides the appropriate regulatory framework, assisted by a consulative council of academics and representatives of media organisations.
Regulation of media activities in the UAE is governed by Federal Law No.15 for 1980 on Press and Publications, supplemented by regulations on media content issued on 10 November 2010, and on TV and Radio regulation, issued on 11 May 2011.
The official national news agency, Emirates News Agency (WAM), or Wakalat Anba'a al-Emarat, was formally established in 1976 and commenced broadcasing on 18 June 1977. Thirty-eight years later WAM has grown to become an important Arab agency, covering all major official news throughout the UAE, which it provides to local, Arab and international media, in Arabic, English and French. The agency was one of the first to transmit news supported by photographs and video footage simultaneously. It is now transmitting on social media platforms from its headquarters in Abu Dhabi to ensure that news and information on political, economic, cultural, tourist and social events in the UAE reaches the widest audience.
Currently, WAM receives broadcasts from all Arab news agencies and most international news agencies and has agreements on cooperation with over 20 Arab and international agencies. It is a member of the Federation of GCC Agencies, the Federation of Arab News Agencies, the Federation of Agencies of Islamic countries, and the Assembly of Agencies of the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as the Federation of International News Agencies.
WAM maintains reporters and offices throughout the region and a presence in many international capital cities worldwide. WAM stories are also carried on this website in English and Arabic with selected stories in French, German and Spanish.
Major multi-platform media (press, radio and TV) organisations based in individual emirates cater particularly for local and regional needs. Abu Dhabi Media's integrated strategy reflecting the UAE's national identity focuses on content that is in line with UAE Vision 2021 and Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. This strategy is being realised in new television networks, programmes and other initiatives.
Dubai Media Incorporated is also developing content through its muliple media channels that respects Arab and Emirati social and cultural values in line with the strategic objectives of the government of Dubai.
Sharjah Media Corporation has recently made the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting (DVB-T2) to continue its focus on UAE values. Fujairah Media Group is the radio and TV broadcasting arm of the Emirate of Fujairah.
Domestic media also focusses on the migrant population producing eight English-language newspapers, dozens of magazines and specialst periodicals and broadcasting in a number of languages, including Hindi and tagalog. In addition, major international media organisations and broadcasters have established headquarters in media zones such as twofour54 in Abu Dhabi, Dubai Media City, Fujairah Creative City, and RAK Media City. Local organisations such as Image Nation, based at twofour54, marry world-class expertise with regional knowledge to develop original content, especially in Arabic, for TV and digital media, ensuring that the UAE is a hub for the media and entertainment industry in the MENA region.
Organisations such as the Dubai Press Club, Sharjah Media Centre and the UAE Journalists' Association, local media outlets, and hundreds of accredited foreign media correspondents in the UAE contribute to a lively environment for the media.