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UAE ends cinema censorship, introduces 21+ rating

Published Dec 20, 2021 10:42 am

The United Arab Emirates announced Sunday, Dec. 19 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 wealthy federation has been continuously amending its laws in recent years, presenting itself as a modernizing force in a largely conservative region.

The country's Media Regulatory Office said on Twitter that it had introduced a 21+ age category to its motion picture content rating system.  

"According to this classification, the international version of movies will be shown in cinemas, with an emphasis on the strict following of age classification standards for audience entry," it added. 

Late last year, the UAE revamped an array of laws in a social liberalization drive designed to burnish its progressive brand.

These included lifting a ban on unmarried couples living together, loosening restrictions on alcohol, and offering long-term residencies.

Earlier this month, the UAE announced it will move to a Western-style Saturday-Sunday weekend, in what experts said was an attempt to maintain its edge over rising regional competitors.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2022, the Emirates will become the only Gulf country not to observe weekends on a Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, and Saturday.

Foreigners in the UAE make up 90 percent of the 10-million population. (AFP)