Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a number of special federal laws, including one amending Federal Law No. 45/1992 pertaining to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one on regulating the National Media Council.

Shaikh Khalifa also issued federal laws on combating cyber crimes and judicial fees at federal courts.

According to Federal Law No. 11/2016, the National Media Council is the federal government body established to oversee and undertake the media affairs of the United Arab Emirates. It is a government body affiliated with the Cabinet and shall have its seat in Abu Dhabi City. The council may set up branches and offices inside and outside the UAE.

Article 4 of the law states the objectives of the NMC and accordingly it shall develop the UAE’s media policy, draft media legislation and ensure its execution and co-ordinate the media policy between the emirates in line with the UAE’s domestic and foreign policy to ensure support for the UAE federation and project national unity.

Article 5 states the NMC’s scope of jurisdiction which includes: developing and executing the required policies and plans to develop the media sector; proposing bills and regulations relating to the work of the council in coordination with the relevant authorities in the country; proposing regulations, standards and foundations required for licensing and accrediting media outlets and their staff and activities, including e-publishing; issuing rules and regulations in line with the controls the council specifies; coordinating with the authorities of media free zones on developing an organisational framework to regulate the council’s relationship with these zones; representing the UAE at media meetings, events and activities in and outside the UAE; and undertaking any other relevant responsibilities specified by the Cabinet’s regulations and resolutions.

Article 10 states that media organisations in the state must comply with the regulations and rules issued by the council, as well as commit themselves to provide information and data required by the council to achieve its objectives.

The law shall be published in the Official Gazette and will come into effect the day following publication.

Shaikh Khalifa also issued Federal Law No. 12/2016 amending Federal Law No. 5/2012 on combating information technology crimes.

Article 1 provides for replacing the text of Article 9 of Federal Law No. 9/2012 as follows: Whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (IP address) by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery, shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a fine of no less than Dh500,000 and not exceeding Dh2 million, or either of these two penalties.