The United Arab Emirates announced on 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 wealthy federation has been continuously amending its laws in recent years, presenting itself as a modernising 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 liberalisation 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 January 1, the Emirates will become the only Gulf country not to observe weekends on a Friday and Saturday.
Foreigners in the UAE make up 90 per cent of the 10-million population.
Originally published in Dawn, December 20th, 2021