A bold new move: UAE not to censor adult content in films shown in its theatres

WION Web Team
NEW DELHIUpdated: Dec 20, 2021, 02:13 PM IST

Drive-in cinema in UAE. Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

The United Arab Emirates announced Sunday it will no longer censor cinematic releases, introducing a 21 and above age rating for films it classifies for mature audiences. The UAE, which is made up of seven emirates, is considered one of the more liberal countries in the Gulf region, where movies with adult content are routinely cut or edited.

The United Arab Emirates stated on December 19 that it will no longer censor films distributed in theatres, the country's latest effort to improve its image as a liberal hub that attracts global visitors.

The Emirati Media Regulatory Authority will develop a new 21+ age category for viewers instead of deleting sensitive scenes that may offend traditional Islamic sensibilities. 

“The Media Regulatory Office announced the inscribed of the 21+ for the age classification categories for cinema films.According to this classification, the movies will be screened in cinemas according to their international version, and the classification is given based on the standards of media content in the country,” the authority said in a Twitter post.


Censors in the UAE, like elsewhere in the Middle East, have long removed scenes in cinematic releases that show nudity, homosexuality, sex, and other content deemed inappropriate — sometimes leading to plot holes.

Foreigners outnumber locals nearly nine to one in the federation of seven sheikhdoms. The diversity of culture and religion in the tourism-dependent country has at times been at odds with its Islamic laws and traditions.

But that's changing as the nation promotes its socially liberal environment to lure international workers. The government has reformed its Islamic legal code and next year will change its weekend to Saturday-Sunday to align with Western businesses and markets.

(With inputs from agencies)