Every Afghan shall have the right, according to provisions of law, to print and publish on subjects without prior submission to state authorities. Directives related to the press, radio, and television as well as publications and other mass media shall be regulated by law
Mass Media Law
Translation of Official Gazette
This Law has been enacted, taking into account the principles of the holy religion of Islam, pursuant to Article 34 of the Constitution and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to ensure the protection of freedom of thought and speech and regulate activities of mass media in the country
The aims of this law are to:
1.Promote and guarantee the right to freedom of thought and speech;
2.Protect the rights of journalists and safeguard conditions for the free operations of the mass media;
3.Promote and develop free, independent and pluralistic mass media.
4.Provide a suitable environment for the expanding of the realities of views and feelings of the citizens, and for fair reflection of truth through speech, writing, drawing, picture, recording, acting, movement and other scientific, artistic and literary phenomena as well as printing and broadcasting.
5.Observe the right to freedom of speech and mass media as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights observing the provisions of the principals of the sacred religion of Islam.
6.Support the sound development of the mass media in a manner to become effective means for broadcasting of accurate news, information, learning, promoting of knowledge, and culture in the country and reflect the public opinions in accordance with journalistic standards, principles and values (honesty, impartiality and balance).
The terms shall have the following meanings in this law:
1.Media: means the instrument of disseminating messages, news and information using the following tools:
- · Ele ctronic Me dia : ra dio, te le vis ion, ca ble ne twork, a nd the Inte rne t;
- · P rint Me dia : ne ws pa pe r, m a ga zine (we ekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, annual), gazette, poster and bulletin;
2.Mass media is divided into the following categories in this law:
- • P ublic Me dia : is the m e dia tha t be longs to the ge ne ra l public a nd is funde d b y government, advertisement and services.
- • P riva te Me dia : is the m e dia tha t be longs to real individuals, political, economic, social and cultural organizations and are funded and equipped by them.
3.Journalist: is a professional person who produces and presents content of materials for publishing/broadcasting through media.
4.Printing House (Printing press): is an economical and technical apparatus that offers printing services.
5.Printer: is a real or legal person who by ownership or representation is in charge of Printing house.
6.Publisher: is a real or legal person who is authorized to print and publish non-periodical (i.e. martial that is not time-bound) works.
7.Publishing: is the practice of disseminating messages and news through mass media.
8.Movie Production Institution: is an organization, which produces documentaries and movies, pictures and slides in accordance with its charter and objectives.
9.Publishing Institution: is a legal entity established pursuant to a charter and engages in Publication and dissemination of works of electronic and print media, periodical or no periodical in line with its objectives.
10.Journalism Training Institute: is an institute that provides short-term or long-term professional trainings in journalism.
11.Translation Center: is a legal entity authorized to translate texts and materials from one language into another in accordance with its charter.
12.News Agency: is a legal person, which works in the field of communications, collecting and dissemination of information.
13.Advertising Company: is a commercial incorporeal entity engaged in advertising and publicity in accordance with its charter.
14.Copyright: means the intellectual property right and privilege of published materials, which will be regulated in accordance with accepted norms by a separate Law.
15.Proprietor: is a real or legal person who sets up and establishes electronic or print medium, news agency, journalism training institutes, printing house, publishing institution, translation center, news agency, film production institution and advertising company.
16.Editor-in-Chief: is a person responsible for managing the publishing affairs related to Institutions as stated in paragraph (15) of this article
17.Radio: is a means and link for audio mass media.
18.Television: is a means for audio-visual mass media.
19.Cable Network: is audio and visual mass media instrument that broadcasts national and international informational, educational, cultural, and entertainment programs to its subscribers.
20.Advertisement: is supply of audio-visual services to real or legal persons in return for money or mutual services in the electronic and print mass media.
21.Donation: is provision of any types of assistance by real or legal persons for material or moral purpose (publicity of name, trademark, production and similar
Rights and Obligations
Freedom of Thought and Expression
1.Every person has the right to freedom of thought and speech, which includes the right to seek, obtain and disseminate information and views within the limit of law without any abuse or restriction by the government or officials. The right also includes free activity of means of publication, distribution, and reception of information.
2.Government shall support, strengthen, and guarantee the freedom of mass media. No real or legal person including government and government offices may ban, prohibit, censor or limit the free operation of informational and news media or otherwise interfere in their affairs.
Every person has the right to request and receive information from the state. Government shall provide the information sought by the citizens, unless the information sought is confidential and its disclosure endangers the security, national interests and territorial integrity of the country, or damages the rights of other people.
1.Journalists shall enjoy legal protection in carrying out their professional activities, including publishing reports and critical views.
2.Journalists shall have the right to avoid disclosing their source of information, except that a competent court orders the disclosure.
Right to Respond
1.Every real or legal person who is attacked by mass media, and his personality, good standing or material interests are damaged, has the right to refute it in the same media.
2.The concerned media shall, without delay and free of charge, publish the response in same or upcoming edition or broadcast.
3.The response provided shall have no criminal nature and refers exclusively to the allegation in the media, and it shall be in written form signed by the affected person or his lawyer and presented to the editor in chief.
4.Any complaints about non-publishing of response shall be referred to the relevant Commission.
5.The right to respond shall not apply to the reports from the sessions of National Assembly and open trials unless the reports from the sessions mentioned above are transposed by media.
Non-publication of Response
Mass media may refrain from publishing a response in the following cases:
1.The response is outside the point of discussion.
2.The response is received more than ninety days later by the media.
Establishment of Union
In order to defend their guild’s rights, journalists and other members of mass media may establish associations, unions, or other independent guilds in accordance with the provisions of law.
Establishment of Print Media
1.Citizens of the country, political parties, social organizations, non-governmental organizations, foreign refugees and government organizations may establish printing media, in accordance with the provisions of this law.
2.Subject to compliance with diplomatic norms, foreign political agencies based in Afghanistan may publish newsletters.
3.International and inter-governmental agencies may research publish and distribute periodical and non-periodical within their area of activity subject to approval of the relevant ministry
4.Scientific reports and researches shall be conducted with prior information of the relevant ministries and institutions.
5- Foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) established in accordance with the
provisions of law, may publish within their specialized area of activity and subject to authorization by Ministry of Information and culture, and under the editorship of an Afghan
citizen, periodical and non-periodical.
6.Print media mentioned in paragraph 2 of article 3 of this law may be established and published without prior registration. In case a publication is published without prior registration, the proprietor is obliged to get his/her publication registered within two weeks in accordance with the provisions of this law.
Address and other specifications
A printed media shall contain the name of the journal, specific address, name and location of the printing center, stump and specific logo name of the proprietor and editor and date of publication.
Establishment of Electronic Mass Media
Citizens of the country, political parties, social organizations, national non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government institutions can establish electronic mass media
in accordance with the provisions of this law.
Public Electronic Media:
National Radio Television Afghanistan
National Radio Television Afghanistan is a mass media that belongs to the Afghan nation and shall be administered within the framework of the executive power of Afghanistan and its budget shall be provided through by the government, delivering services and though advertisements.
The high council of Supreme Court in its verdict No (6) dated (1388/01/26) recognized the second paragraph of Article 13 against the constitution of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan which says: “The Director General of the National Radio Television is appointed by the president after confirmation by the Wolesi Jirga.”
The Headquarter of National Radio Television Afghanistan (NRTA) shall be in Kabul and its local stations shall be located in the provinces.
Duties and Responsibilities
National Radio Television Afghanistan is obligated to adjust its programs in the light of the principles and provisions of the holly religion of Islam, national and spiritual values of the Afghan nation and in its programmes shall consider dissemination of information, balance, neutrality, and promotion of religious education, science, culture, and economy, moral and psychological security (wellbeing).
Religious and National Programs:
National Radio Television, in compliance with full impartiality in the interest of promoting national unity and strengthening religious and national values of the country, must organize its programs in such a way to reflect the culture, language and religious beliefs of all the ethnic groups residing in the country.
In case of emergency, National Radio Television shall operate under full supervision of the President.
National Radio Television is obligated to keep all its recorded programs in the archive of National Radio Television.
Non-governmental Electronic Media
Private radio and televisions shall carry out their activities in light of the Mass Media Law of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Private radio and televisions are obliged to observe the principles and provisions of the holly religion of Islam, and national, spiritual and moral and values and the psychological security of the Afghan nation in their programs.
Private radio and televisions shall have freedom in production and compiling of their programs, in compliance with the provisions of this law.
Private radio and televisions shall maintain balance relating to the adversary positions taken by political groups and personalities, and broadcast their views impartially.
Private radio and televisions shall keep their recorded programs in the respective archives for at least three year.
If a real or legal person claims in writing that his rights have been affected by a mass medium’s program, he may take a copy of the from the archive of that media at his own expenses and use it.
1)Electronic mass Medias shall include issues of religious, moral, human rights, health, environment, importance of education, harms of cultivation, production and consumption of drugs and narcotics in their educational programs.
2)Electronic Mass Media are obliged to broadcast the five times call to prayers and observe the sacredness of holy days and the month of Ramadan in preparing their transmission schedule.
Financial Sources of Mass Media
In accordance with the provision of this law, mass media can finance themselves from the following ways:
1.Advertisement, messages, political, religious and social programs, real or legal persons, foreign and domestic manufacturing companies, political and cultural institutions and political parties.
2.Contributions from legal or real persons and national and international donor organizations, who work for development of mass media.
3.Mass media are obligated to submit their annual financial report to the High Media Council and the Ministry of Finance.
4.Resources and amount of incomes should be clear and transparent.
5.Providing professional and specialized services for real or legal persons in exchange of money.
Establishing of printing houses and cultural
Citizens of the country, political parties, social organizations, national and international nongovernmental organizations, national and international private and personal companies, and government institutions have the right to establish printing houses, film production centers, publishing entity, journalism training institute, translation centre, news agency and companies for publicity and advertisements, in accordance with the provisions of this law.
If citizens of the country, political parties, social organizations, national and international non-
governmental organizations, national and international private and personal companies, and government institutions wanting to establish the organizations set forth in Article 28 of this Law shall obtain license from the Ministry of Information and Culture.
Proprietor, Qualifications and Obligations
The mass media and organizations set forth in article (27) of this law shall have proprietors
Qualifications of Proprietor:
The proprietors of mass media and organizations set forth in article (27) of this law shall meet the following qualifications:
- Real persons shall:
1.Hold a national identity card
2.Having completed age 18
3.Not been deprived of civil rights by ruling of competent court. b. Legal persons shall:
1.Be registered with the relevant government institutions
2.Have their Afghan identity verified by the relevant institutions. Persons and institutions mentioned in the paragraph 2 and 3 of article 10 are exempted from this provision.
3.Not been deprived of civil rights by ruling of competent court.
Foreign persons and agencies shall have the national identity of their relevant countries
Article of Association
Proprietors of mass media and organizations set forth in article (27) of this law are obligated to organize the required information on the activities of their media or institution in their respective articles of association, including the objectives, structure, authorities, duties, amount of capital and financial sources.
Registration of Private Media and Cultural Organizations:
The proprietors of mass media and organizations set forth in article (27) of this law shall register their media and organizations in accordance with the provisions of this law.
Provision of information for Media
Registration and Cultural Organizations:
The proprietors of mass media and organizations set forth in article (27) of this law shall submit a statement containing the following information for registration purpose to Ministry of Information and Culture:
1- Full names of proprietor.
2- Type of activity.
3- Name of Media
4- Location of activity.
5- Objectives and aim of activity
6- Funding source and amount of capital
7- For printed specifying the print out, language, type of contents, period of printing, and print layout.
8- For electronic media and organizations set forth in article 27 of this law specifying the quantity and quality of the machineries and equipments
Address and Logo
The mass media and organizations set forth in article (27) of this law shall have specific address, stamp and logo.
Referral to court
In case a proprietor finds the decision of the ministry of information and culture regarding non- registration or issuance of license contrary to the provisions of law, he may refer to the relevant commission. If not satisfied, the proprietor may appeal to the court.
1.Transfer of ownership and rights (sale, gift and inheritance) of the mass media and organizations set forth in article (27) of this law is permissible.
2.The ownership and rights may be transferred to a person who meets the criteria established by this Law.
3.In case of sale or gift of assets or right of the mass media and above-mentioned organizations to another person, the procedure established by this law shall be reapplied.
4.In case a proprietor dies or ceases to have the required legal qualifications, the material and ownership privilege shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code and this law, and shall be transferred to the person agreed upon by the heirs and meeting the conditions established by this Law.
Qualification and Obligation of Editor-in-Chief
Have an Editor-in-Chief
Mass media and the institutions mentioned in article (27) of this law shall have editor-in-chief.
Person who is appointed, as editor-in-chief shall meet the following requirements:
1.Have a national identification card
2.Have completed age 21
3.Holds a professional degree or three years of professional experience
4.Not been deprived of civil rights by ruling of competent court
Mass media and the institutions mentioned in article (27) of this law shall have editor-in-chief.
Responsibility for Published Material
Editor-in-chief of mass media or agencies mentioned in article 27 of this law shall be responsible for published articles, contents of the programs, production of artistic, educational and advertising programs.
Considering the Rights of Complainer and accused person:
Editor is responsible to take in to account such equal rights of both critic and the criticized in the relevant print and electronic media.
High Media Council:
(1)For purpose of developing media policy, a High Media Council comprising of Information and Culture Minister, Technical Deputy of the Communication Minister, one representative from the Supreme Court, one representative from the Ministry of justice, Two representatives form the MJ, two representatives from WJ, one religious scholar form the Ullama Shura, two experienced professionals in the field of Journalism and two representatives of the civil society, proposed by them, shall be established for a period of (3) years.
(2)One person shall be chosen through free election from amongst the members of the
HMC as chairperson.
(3 The mechanism for the election of four people, 2 journalists and 2 civil society reps, as members of the HMC and the functions of the council shall be regulated by separate set procedural regulations.
(4)High Media Council shall have the following duties and authorities: 1. Planning and approving of long-term media policy;
2.Propose the appointment of chair and members of the Mass Media Commission, chair and members of the commission of the National Radio TV, from amongst the professional, independent, and reputable personalities to the President.
- Proposing the budget of RTA to president and proposing the annual report to National Assembly.
Mass Media Commission:
(1)For the purpose of appropriate regulation of activities of the mass media, a Mass Media Commission shall be established comprising of (7) Members selected from amongst professional people, with higher education and experienced in the field of journalism, and impartial taking into account the ethnic and gender balance.
(2)Four members of the commission shall be elected for a period of 3 years and the three others for a period of two years.
(3)Members of the commission shall not be elected for more than two rounds.
(4)The salary of the commission members shall be paid in accordance with the law from the budget of the Ministry of Culture and Information.
(5)Method of work and activities of the commission shall be regulated by separate bylaw.
Duties of Mass Media Commission
The Commission under Article (42) of this law shall have the following duties and authorities:
1.Review application for print media and agencies set forth in article 27 of this law, and proposing their registration and issuance of license to Ministry of Information and Culture.
2.Review application for electronic media and propose to the Ministry of Information and Culture for approval after assigning of frequency in agreement with Ministry of Communications.
3.Monitor the activities of the mass media.
4.Review the complaints by the mass media and solve their disputes.
5.Refer mass media violations with criminal nature to justice institutions.
6.Provide technical consultations to the officials of mass media.
7.Monitoring of finance, administrative and broadcasting of RTA.
8.Reviewing RTA’s budget and submitting it to HMC.
9.Submit annual report to the High Media Council.
National Radio Television Afghanistan Commission
(1)For better regulating of activities of the National Radio Television, a National Radio. Television Commission shall be established. The commission comprised of seven members shall be formed for a period of 3 years.
(2)The commission set forth in paragraph 1 of this Article shall include one religious personality, one lawyer, one professional engineer, a journalist, one professional artist and one representative of the civil society and one person from RTA directorate, taking into account the ethnic and gender balance.
(3)The Commission set forth in paragraph (2) of this Article shall have the following duties
1.Protect the independence, impartiality, and professional reputation of NRTA.
2.Supervise the implementation the budget of the RTA
3.Submit annual activities report of the RTA to the High Media Council.
4.Attract internal and external assistance for the strengthening of the RTA.
5.Supervise the implementation of the rules of the RTA’s bylaw and other relevant laws.
6.Supervise the implementation of the broadcasting policy set forth by the HMC in a manner to reflect the ethnic, language and cultural diversities of all people of Afghanistan.
(4)Members of the NRTA Commission shall be entitled to appropriate salary which will be paid from the budget of the RTA directorate.
Works and Materials Prohibited to be Produced, Printed and Published/Broadcast
Production, reproduction, print and publishing of the following reports and material in mass media, and agencies mentioned in article (27) of this law are not permissible:
1.Works and materials those are contrary to the principles and provisions of the holy religion of Islam.
2.Works and materials which are offensive to other religions and sects.
3.Works and materials which are defamatory, insulting and offensive to the real or legal persons.
4.Works and materials which are considered libelous/defamatory to real and legal persons, and cause damage to their personality and credibility.
5.Works and materials which are contrary to the Constitution and are considered crime by the Penal Code.
6.Publicizing and dissemination (promoting) of religions other than the holy religion of Islam.
7.Disclosure identity and broadcasting of pictures of the victims of violence and rape in a way to damage their social dignity.
8.Works and material that harm psychological security and moral wellbeing of people, especially children and adolescent.
The Bakhtar Information Agency:
The Bakhtar Agency is the mass medium which works in the field of relations, collection and dissemination of information in the frame work of the Ministry of Culture and Information and its budget shall be provided through the said ministry.
Revocation of License
1- The license of real or legal person who register a media or institution with Ministry of Information and Culture, shall be revoked if the print media does not start its activity within one year from registration date, and the electronic media and institutions set forth in article (27) of this law does not start its activity within two years from registration date.
(2)A proprietor of media or institution, who stops its activity after a period of operation, shall resume the activity of print media within one year and the electronic media and institutions set forth in article 28 of this within two years otherwise their license shall be revoked. In case of resuming activities, the person shall obliged to go through the procedures set forth in the articles (31) and (34) of this Law.
(3)In case of violation of the provisions set forth in this law by the proprietor the relevant Court can order the revocation of the license.
Right of Film Production of Foreign Citizens
Foreign citizens may produce documentaries and feature films in Afghanistan provided they have obtained an introductory letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a prior permission from Ministry of Information and Culture.
Reporting amendments to Article of association
1- Managers and directors of mass media and institutions mentioned in Article (27) of this Law are obliged to notify the Ministry of Information and Culture of any changes in their activity or cessation of activity, address and charter and other requirements set forth in this law.
2- Managers and director of mass media and institutions mentioned in Article (27) of this Law shall notify, for statistical information purposes, Ministry of Information and Culture of the continuation or cessation of activities at the beginning of each year.
Obligation of Foreign Media and News Agencies
1- Representatives of foreign media and news agencies intending to operate inside Afghanistan shall obtain introductory letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and inform, in writing, the Ministry of Information and Culture of their country of origin, and the type, duration and place of activities, and obtain special press card.
2- Representatives of foreign media and news agencies set forth in paragraph (1) of this Article shall abide by the provision of Article (45) of this law.
Registration of Books and Manuals and Publisher
Book or manuals shall be registered by the publisher with Ministry of Information and Culture after publication and the proprietor shall provide two copies each of the book, booklet or publication to the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Public Library.
Laws regarding the copyright, establishment of unions, punitive rules for media violations, advertisements, and seeking [access to] information shall be developed separately.
Payment of Tax
Tax shall be levied on the profits of mass media and other institutions mentioned in Article (27) of this Law, in accordance with the provisions of Law.
Periodical and non-periodical print publications are exempted from this provision.
Entry into Force
This law shall enter into force after publishing in the Official Gazette, following which the Mass Media Law published in the Official Gazette No. 871 on 15 Jadi 1384 shall be nullified. Copied from Pajhwok