Ratings typically carry age recommendations in an advisory or restrictive capacity. Image Credit: Archive

Abu Dhabi: The National Media Council, UAE’s media regulator, on Tuesday launched a new content ratings system for nearly everything people in the country want to watch, read, play, and learn, officials said.

The new ratings system aims at preserving the values of the UAE society and its cultural heritage, and at protecting children from the negative influences from various media platforms including movies, videos, electronic games and video games, as well as comic books and printed and online books, which are traded in the country including the free media zones, Dr. Rashid Al Nuaimi, executive director of media affairs at the National Media Council said

Basis for rating

“Because content profoundly affects our children’s social, emotional, and physical development, the National Media Council rates content based on both age appropriateness and learning potential,” Dr Al Nuaimi told a press briefing in Abu Dhabi,” Dr Al Nuaimi said.

The new ratings system, which was enforced as from January 1, was in implementation of a Cabinet decision issued in July last year.

Dr Al Nuaimi said the Council has worked on issuing the content ratings system for media, covering all forms and types, as part of its social responsibility.

“This will ensure balanced and responsible media content that respects the privacy of individuals and protects the various segments of society from the harmful effects of any creative and media works.”

He urged businessmen of licensed media activities in the country to classify the content of their publications and activities through specific symbols to ensure they are compatible with the values of the community.

Protecting youngsters

Dr. Al Nuaimi affirmed the system aims mainly at protecting children and young people from exposure to content that is not suitable for their age and helps them to choose the right classification with the right content for them.

The National Media Council had implemented the system at cinema theatres and libraries and at shopping malls in relation to the sale of video games and electronic games.

“We are now working on raising awareness about the age classification system across the media,” Dr Al Nuaimi said.

The ratings system is required and binding on the relevant media organisations in accordance with the provisions of the resolution. It will provide protection against exposure to any content that have potential harmful effect, by enabling individuals to make the right choice by identifying the media content using the age classification symbols.

Through the age classification system, NMC has identified a set of symbols that indicate the content as suitable for various age groups.

Ebrahim Khadim, media content director at the NMC, said the regulator relies on developmental criteria to determine what content is appropriate for which ages, and researches on how children learn from media and technology informs our learning ratings.


“Our goal is to give people trustworthy information so that you can decide what works for their families and help them make great media choices.

The ratings system is designated to classify media content with regard to suitability for audiences in terms of issues such as sex, violence, substance abuse, profanity, impudence or other types of mature content.

A particular issued rating can be called a certification, classification, certificate or rating. Ratings typically carry age recommendations in an advisory or restrictive capacity.

The content ratings symbols as as follows:

Films and video content:

G, PG, PG13, PG15, 15+, 18+

Video games:

3, 7, 12, 16, 18, 21  

Books and novels:

E “all ages”, 5-3, 9-6, 12-10, 13+, 17+, 21+