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Decree on the Regulation of Advertisements in Dubai

The Dubai Government issued decree number 6 of 2020 in relation to advertisement regulations.

This new decree sets out new guidelines, regulations and permits criteria for all physical advertisements, such as signages, outdoor billboards, promotions, leaflets, roads, commercials and others. Historically, there was a decree number 30 of 1986 that was issued in Dubai to govern and monitor advertisements within the Emirate. Nevertheless, Decree 6 of 2020 replaces this piece of regulation within the Emirate and introduces new mechanisms to regulate the advertising industry within Dubai in order to ensure an appealing visual aesthetic is preserved and that advertisements in Dubai do not have any adverse implications on public safety, misleading or any false advertisements. Dubai’s economy is reliant on visitors and foreign investment and the city has built an extraordinary reputation globally to position itself with a unique image, status and reflection of modernity.

Under this decree, advertisements will be monitored to uphold the traditions of public morality, customs and to protect the public from misinformation. To ensure the objectives under this decree are met, all advertisements displayed in Dubai must receive prior consent in the form of a permit from the competent authorities in Dubai, such as Road and Transportation Authority (RTA), Dubai Economic Development Department (DED) and Competent Free Zone Authorities.

The new decree sets out a very important regulatory platform to govern the process, ensure expedited orders and approvals are issued, i.e. within less than 10 days to obtain permits, and highlight very important sanctions against any advertising entity without acquiring a permit or failing to meet the conditions prescribed in their permit, such as those relating to dimensions or advertising method. For brand owners and their agencies, the benefits of this decree can be recognized in the clarity of the regulations. The regulations support the existing legal framework by simplifying aspects of the current applicable laws and providing a clear process of escalation for grievances, issues and sanctions related to advertisements.

This decree also comes as a new tool to ensure consumers are protected from any false advertisements and or decisive commercials. Administrative sanctions by the above authorities can be imposed against violation of its rules, conditions of issued permits or approved advertisements. Sanctions include fines, suspension of permits, removal of violating ads and can result in the closure of businesses for up to 6 months by suspending the trade license of violating entities. Therefore, we highly advise all concerned sectors, including agencies and brand owners, to be more familiar with the terms and clauses of this new decree that will be applicable solely within the Emirate of Dubai.

Since the decree raises the preservation of the visual aesthetic of Dubai as a concern, this provides incentives for brand owners to think outside the box and innovate forms of advertising that complement and enhance the existing aesthetics of the city. With EXPO2020 planned to take place in Dubai later this year, this decree will assist to ensure all local activities and commercials are in compliance with the best international standards for advertisements. It will ensure visitors continue to be attracted by the unique and impressive visual aesthetic of Dubai and its many landmarks.

Authored by Partner and Head of Intellectual Property, Munir Suboh
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