What The United Arab Emirates New Censorship Policy Means For The Film And TV Industry

On Sunday December 19th, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
UAE
announced that it would be ending the censorship of films that are released in cinemas. The mechanism that will be utilized to implement this is a new 21+ age classification policy that cinemas will have to follow strictly.

Censorship on content across the Middle East region is rife, with depictions of homosexuality, certain religious messages and sexual scenes frequently cut down to adhere to cultural guidelines. 

Recently, films such as Eternals and House Of Gucci were put under the proverbial knife in the censorship editing suite, with some scenes depicting strong sexual messaging and elements of homosexuality deleted for the market.

World stage

The UAE is largely seen as the nation that is taking leaps forward in innovation and vision on a world stage in the region. Specifically through recognizing and implementing structures to create a more globally inclusive environment for the country’s plans.

Pushing away from its dependency on oil, the UAE is moving to fully diversify its economy and bring in more foreign talent. The country recently adopted a four-and-a-half day work week from Monday-Friday, changing the former Sunday-Thursday week to conform more closely with western schedules. 

They have also normalized both diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel, becoming the third Arab nation to adopt peace with the state.

The sweeping new policies across the UAE seem to be making an impact with record highs in investment, company formation and tourism, even throughout the pandemic. 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is now presenting itself as a key competitor to the UAE in its position to attract talent in key growth areas and further investment, with a large amount of money being filtered into areas such as entertainment to entice firms and individuals. However, Saudi Arabia is reminiscent of the UAE some years ago with strict bans on products such as alcohol and large amounts of content censorship.

With the amount of funding being pumped into entertainment, the Middle East is likely to attract both companies and productions over the next two decades at least. The development of locally produced content with high production values is also set to soar, creating an ecosystem of freelancers, production companies, talent and studios to rival any other region in the world.

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