Press Law Bylaws

Bylaws for the Execution of the Press Law Ratified on 8 September 2002 and Its Later Amendments

Chapter I: Description and Identification of the Press

Article 1: The Press can be categorized in one of the following categories based on their frequency of publication:

Once a day (daily), once a week (weekly), twice a week, once a month (monthly), once every two months, once every three months (quarterly), once every six months, and once a year (annually).

Note 1: An electronic publication is a publication which is published in a digital environment in the same format, conditions, and appearance as a printed publication and is produced using the means emerging from the usual activities of journalism and publication and is produced and published regularly, with a fixed name and with dates and numbers in a fixed order in one or several political, economic, and cultural fields.

Note 2: Digital versions of licensed printed publications do not need separate permission for publication.

Article 2: The a publication’s name must use a word which cannot be confused with [the name of] existing publications or with publications which are temporarily or permanently closed and which might cause its name to be associated with them. Similarly, the name of the publication must not make use of unfamiliar words or create a false impression that it is connected with a governmental organization. In the event of any sort of violation, the authority for making a decision will be the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

Article 3: Choosing a policy other than those mentioned in Article 1 of the Press Law must be appropriate to the Press’s mission.

Article 4: Publishing a special edition or other supplements in the same name as the publication which conform to the features specified in the publishing license and follow the remaining strictures of the press law is permitted.

Note 1: Publishing any sort of advertisement in the form of a publication by the propaganda centers is forbidden.

Note 2: Printing and publishing local special editions by nationwide dailies will be permitted if the bulk of its advertisements do not exceed 30% of the pages of that special edition.

Article 5: There is no obstacle on the part of the publication’s proprietor to the translation of all or part of articles from press with a publications license and its systematic publication separately, in conformity with the rest of the stipulations set forth in the publications license.

Article 6: It is forbidden to reproduce existing publications in the same language and format either by offset printing, photography, or similar means without permission from the licensee [holder of a permission to publish a newspaper].

Article 7: A publication’s articles must conform to and be appropriate for the fields set down in the publication’s license and the publication is not permitted to publish articles outside the abovementioned fields that affect the publication’s general policies.

Article 8: Local dailies and weeklies are obliged, conforming to Article 2 of the Press Law and in line with their chosen field, to publish articles about social and cultural issues of the publication’s region of publication in order to raise the people’s level of consciousness.

Article 9: Quoting articles from the anti-Islamic deviant press, parties, and groups (domestically or abroad) in order to investigate, criticize, and reject them is unobjectionable on the condition that it is not considered propaganda.

Note 1: It is forbidden to publish rumors so that the essence of an article is false.

Note 2: Scholarly criticisms, with the exception of cases in which they are publications of articles against the Constitution, are exempted from clause 12 added to Article 6 of the Press Law.

Article 10: It is forbidden to change the name, policy, or format of a publication without informing the Press Supervisory Board and gaining its agreement. Changing other features except for matters stipulated in the law and matters which are in the supervisory board’s sphere of responsibility are unobjectionable with the confirmation of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

Note: The Press Supervisory Board has at most a space of three months to investigate and declare a verdict on a request for a change in condition.

Article 11: A publication is a leased publication when, at the written request of the licensee [concessionaire] and with the agreement of the [Press] Supervisory Board, in accordance with a leasing contract, it turns over its legal powers to an individual or a foundation in exchange for money.

Chapter II: License requirement and permission to publish a publication

Article 12: Applicants for obtaining a license to publish a publication must present their letter of application along with a completed copy of a questionnaire which contains their personal characteristics; their social, political, and cultural records; and legal commitments, along with the following documents, in Tehran, to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and in the provinces, to the General Office of Culture and Islamic Guidance of the relevant province:

1. Four 4 by 6 [cm.] photographs [of applicant].

2. Two photocopies of each page of [applicant’s] ID.

3. A copy of a document attesting to the applicant’s lack of a record of any conviction based on Islamic criteria which would annul social rights.

4. A photocopy of the applicant’s latest certificate of education received from the appropriate centers.

Note: The applicant’s suitability shall be determined by the Press Supervisory Board.

Article 13: Should the applicant for a publication’s publishing license be a legal entity, the request for the issuance of the license must be accompanied by an introduction of an eligible individual as an accountable director from the highest post of authority. Should it be agreed to, the publishing license will be issued in the name of the organization requesting its issuance.

Article 14: Iranian political parties, organizations, and societies and religious minorities may request the issuance of a publishing license for a publication if they are permitted to carry out legal activity.

Note: Illegal groups mean groups which have been officially declared illegal by the Ministry of the Interior.

Article 15: The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, in order to issue publication permits for publications of Islamic liberation movements of other countries within the framework of the stipulations pertaining to foreigners resident in Iran will perform the necessary review by requesting information from the relevant centers and obtaining the necessary documents as well as the agreement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, after completing this process, will take action on an expedited basis.

Article 16: Publishing an internal publication for an organization, foundation, or company, governmental or private, is conditional upon obtaining permission from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and conformity to the stipulations elucidated as follows:

i. A request to publish a publication and an introduction of an accountable director proposed by the highest post in authority of that center.

ii. The articles and news must be chiefly in connection with the goals and the explanation of the duties of the center making the request and solely for the use of the employees.

iii. It should refrain from publishing any trade advertisements.

iv. The number of its pages should not exceed 48.

v. It should be cost-free.

Note 1: Permission will only be given to one internal publication for each center or one of its units.

Note 2: Issuing a publication permit for an internal publication for government organizations must conform to the other relevant laws.

Article 17: Nonconformity with the stipulations set forth in Article 2 of the Press Law and the Bylaws by the internal publications of an organization, foundation, or company, government or private, will result in a written warning being issued. Should this violation be repeated, it will result in the permit’s nullification.

Article 18: The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance will issue a publication permit to the proprietor and an accountable director card to the accountable director.

Article 19: The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance may, in order to implement Article 11 of the Press Law, conduct the necessary investigation and place its outcome at the disposal of the [Press] Supervisory Board. The relevant ministries and organizations are obliged to provide the necessary cooperation.

Article 20: Applicants whose suitability to publish a publication has not been affirmed according to clause iv or Note 5 or Article 9 of the Press Law by the Press Supervision Board may not renew their application to publish the publication.

Article 21: An application for a publishing license will officially take place when all the necessary documents have been presented by the applicant.

Article 22: Should the proprietor die, his legal heirs who possess all the conditions have priority in inheriting unless they do not satisfy all the conditions. In the event that the inheritors, during the legal reprieve mentioned in Article 16 of the Press Law, refrain from applying for a transfer of the proprietorship or, after the issuance of the proprietorship, do not take measures to publish the publication, the publishing license is voided.

Chapter III: Duties of the Licensee and the Accountable Director of the Press

Article 23: The press published on a daily basis is obliged to present the full name, the format and date of publication, the consecutive number of the series and the page number over each page and, in addition, the price on the first page. Similarly, the press which is published in the form of a journal is obliged to publish the full name, the format and date of publication, the successive number of the series, the number of pages, and the price on the cover, and, in addition, the issue number on each page.

Note: It is forbidden to add any kind of word or expression to the publication’s name or logo to what is mentioned in the publication’s publishing license or printing permit.

Article 24: Each publication is obliged to have a location as its publication’s office. The licensee is obliged to announce the location of this office in writing to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance after receiving its publishing license.

Note 1: The publication’s proprietor is obliged, upon a change of address of the editorial office, to bring this information in writing to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and, in the provinces, to the province’s General Office of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

Note 2: Distribution of the publication outside the geographical boundaries of its legal person (the proprietor) is unimpeded.

Article 25: All press correspondence signed by the publication’s proprietor, the accountable director [or] any other person who had been authorized in writing by the accountable director is legitimate. Correspondence of this authorized person on issues which the Press Law and the Bylaws on Execution have recognized as being [specifically] the duties of the licensee or the accountable director is illegitimate.

Article 26: All the Press is also obliged to announce to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance its circulation according to a model which includes the number of copies printed and the number returned, specifying the places of distribution.

Article 27: The publication’s responsible manager is obliged to announce in writing to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance the name of the printing house contracted to print the publication.

Article 28: Printing house managers must send two copies of each issue of their publications, in Tehran, to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and in the provinces, to the General Office of Culture and Islamic Guidance of the relevant province. A receipt will be issued.

Note: The publishers of internal publications of organizations and institutions, too, must send two copies of their publication as soon as they are published to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance or the General Office of Culture and Islamic Guidance and receive a receipt.

Article 29: Should the publication’s publishing license be voided with a written announcement by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, the licensee is obliged to return the documents he has received, such as the publishing license, accountable director card, and reporter identification cards within a space of ten days. Those who abuse these documents will be treated in accordance with the law.

Chapter IV: Other Stipulations

Article 30: The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance will utilize the cooperation of the relevant centers in reviewing and evaluating the (specialized) press.

Article 31: Three months before the conclusion of the Press Supervisory Board’s term the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance will send out an invitation to the Press’s accountable director through issuing an announcement in the mass-circulation press to introduce the candidates [for the new membership of this board]. After having confirmed the candidates’ suitability through the board described in Note 4 attached to Article 10 of the Press Law ratified in 1365 [1986-1987], all the accountable directors are called upon to once more hold elections. A meeting will be considered official if it has an absolute majority of the managers responsible present. Voting is anonymous and the elected representative should have the absolute majority of votes.

Note 1: In the event that a majority is not present during the first round, a session will be convened after two weeks and measures will be taken according to the vote of the majority present concerning the selection of a representative of the managers responsible.

Note 2: Each manager responsible will have one vote, even if he is invested as a manager responsible for several publications.

Note 3: A group of managers responsible who, a year before the elections were held, had published at least one issue of their publication or whose publication’s publishing license had not been nullified due to a court order or due to Article 16 of the Press Law through the Press Supervisory Board may participate in the election.

Article 32: Should any of the members of the Press Supervisory Board of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance or other official sources have a claim over the substance of clause viii appended to Article 9 of the Press Law ratified in 1379 [2000-2001], he/she must bring his/her documents to the attention of the Press Supervisory Board. In the event of a violation is discovered, the aforementioned board will issue a warning to the publication’s management responsible to remove it. If the violation is not removed, the matter will be referred to judiciary courts.

Note: In the event that the violator is condemned, he will be banned from press activity for the duration of his conviction.

Article 33: Deleted.

Article 34: In all cases in which the Press Supervisory Board has the power to temporarily suspend or nullify a publishing license, before making any decision it will send the issues of the violation in writing to the publication’s accountable director with at least a week’s reprieve for an answer.

Article 35: Deleted.

Article 36: These bylaws replace the Executive Bylaws of the Press Law ratified in Esfand 1364 [the month beginning 21 February 1986], the substance of ratified memo No. 111648/t 49 dated 15 May 1987, and all subsequent amendments and supplements.

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