Saudi Arabia: CITC launches public consultation on regulation of digital content platforms
Saudi ICT regulator, Communications and Information Technology Commission (“CITC»), Launched a public consultation on a regulatory proposal for the Kingdom’s digital media sector, the objective of which is to create a clear and transparent regulatory framework for digital content platforms. The consultation invites interested parties to submit their comments on the project Digital Content Platform Regulations (“Regulations“) through November 30, 2021.
If adopted, the Regulation will introduce a regulatory framework for four categories of online media activities, namely:
- Video (OTT, satellite TV and IPTV);
- Audio (Internet radio);
- Gaming (E-sports and online gaming platforms); and
- Advertising (social networks and online advertising platforms).
The Regulation proposes three types of authorization mechanisms depending on the nature of the activity: license, registration and notification. More specifically, providers of audio and video services, including SVOD and online streaming services, would be required to:
- establish a local presence in the Kingdom;
- pay an annual fee of between 0.2% and 0.5%, calculated on a phased basis with reference to the annual revenues generated by the provision of services in the Kingdom; and
- comply with the CITC General Principles for the Protection of Personal Data and the CITC Regulations on the Protection of the Rights of Users of ICT Services and the Conditions for Providing ICT Services.
Suppliers of the four categories of media activities would be expressly required to:
- cooperate fully with the CITC, including by authorizing the inspection of their systems and the provision of all documents and information required to demonstrate compliance with CITC regulations;
- comply with the law applicable in the Kingdom, including requests for removal of content (although in practice this obligation can only apply following a final decision by the competent authorities); and
- comply with Saudization requirements.
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