The Law on Mass Media
In The Name of Allah The Most Compassionate and The Most Merciful
This Law has been enacted in accordance with Article 34th of the
Constitution and Article 19th of the International Covenant of Human
Rights for ensuring the protection of freedom of thought and speech
and for regulating the activities of mass media in the country.
The aims of this law are as follows:
1. Promote and support the right of freedom of thought and speech, defend the rights of journalists and ensure the ground for
their free operation.
2. Promote and develop free, independent and pluralistic media.
3. Provide suitable environment for free expression of views and
feelings of citizens through speech, writing, drawing, picture,
recording, acting, movement and other scientific, artistic, literary
as well as printing and broadcasting.
4. Observe the right of freedom of speech and media as enshrined
in international human rights convention, taking in to account the
true religion of Islam.
5. To support the sound development process of mass media and
enable it to become an effective means for promoting the culture in
the country and reflect the public opinion honestly and usefully.
The following terms of this law shall mean as follows:
1. Media: Means or instrument of dissemination of information
using the following tools:
. Visual: drawings, picture, postcard and poster.
. Audio-video (Broadcast): radio, television, cable network,
. Information: Information and Press Agencies
2. Press: pictures and letters printed in a way conveying a
meaning or picture and includes all mass media such as daily
newspaper, gazette, magazine, booklet, book, preaching outlet as well
speech and statement.
3. Mass Media is divided into the following categories in this
. State-run mass media: The media that belong to the government
offices and are funded and equipped by them.
. Organizational mass media: The media that belongs to
political, economical, social and cultural organizations and are
funded and equipped by them.
4. Journalist: is a professional person whose job is to seek,
obtain and publish information through news media.
5. Printing House: Economical, technical and incorporeal
organization in which daily newspapers, magazines, books, newspapers,
books, gazettes, announcements, posters and postcards are published.
6. Printer: Real or incorporeal person who, by ownership or
representation, is the actual in charge of printing house affairs.
7. Publisher: Real or incorporeal person who is authorized to
print and publish non-periodic works.
8. Concessionaire: Real or incorporeal persons who are engaged
in printing and publishing of periodic print media and establishing
radio, television, cable network, news agency and print house.
9. Editor-in-chief: is a person who is the actual in-charge of
managing the affairs related to the media stated in paragraph 8 of
10. Publishing: is a process through which the message of print,
broadcast as well as audio and video media is conveyed to the public.
11. Radio: is an audio mass media instrument.
12. Television: is an audio-video (broadcast) mass media
13. Cable Network: is a mass media of audio-video (broadcast),
which broadcasts different international information, educational,
cultural and entertainment programs to the public through satellite
Rights and Obligations
1. Every person has the right to freedom of thought and speech.
This right includes seeking, obtaining and dissemination of
information and views without interference and restraints by
government officials, including freedom of expression and broadcast,
dissemination and seeking of information.
2. The government shall support and strengthen the freedom of
mass media. No real or incorporeal person including the government
and government officials can interdict, prohibit, censor or limit the
activities of mass media or interfere in the affairs of mass media
through other means. The Media Evaluation Commission enshrined in
Article 42 of this law is an exception to this provision.
Every person has the right to seek and obtain information. The
government shall provide the information sought by citizens, except
the information sought is a military secret that its disclosure
endangers the national security and interests.
1. Journalists shall come under legal protection while carrying
out their professional activities including publishing reports and
2. Journalists shall have the right to avoid disclosing their
source of information, or otherwise an authoritative court issues an
To defend their class interests the journalists and other members of
mass media can establish independent associations according to
provisions of this law.
1. According to the article (3) of this law the citizens of the
country can establish means of mass media.
2. Foreign political agencies, international organizations and
their representatives in Afghanistan can print and publish news
bulletin, according to diplomatic norms and after obtaining the
permission of ministry of information and culture.
1. The citizen of the country, political parties, registered
national organizations and foreign emigrants can, according to this
law and without prior permission, establish print media. Newspaper,
periodic publication, and other print media can be established
without previous permission.
2. The publications whose circulation is less then (200) number
shall not be subject to the provision of article (13) and (28) of
this law and shall not need to obtain prior permission and
The founder of a print media, upon registration, shall be obliged to
provide the following information to the Ministry of Information and
(1) Complete identification details and residence address of the
(2) The name and the place/ location of the publication.
(3) The language in which the publication is published.
(4) The source of funding and the amount of budget.
Print media shall have its name, specified address, location of
printing, the name of concessionaire, editor-in-chief and the date of
The identity and the signature of author shall have to exist in the
According to the provision of this law, every print media shall have
a concessionaire and an editor-in-chief.
Citizens, political parties and government offices shall have the
right to establish printing houses, provided that it has obtained the
permission of the Ministry of Information and Culture.
In view of the provisions of Article 24 of this law, the applicant of
license for establishing printing house shall present the following
information to Ministry of Information and Culture:
1. Full identity and residential domicile.
2. Name and location of the printing press.
3. Language that is used for printing.
4. Type, kind of machinery and printing equipment.
5. Source and amount of budget invested in the establishment of
the printing house.
The transfer of the printing house ownership is permissible. The
person to whom the ownership is transferred shall re-adhere to
directives stated in article 24 of this law.
Without a concessionaire and editor-in-chief, operation of printing
house shall not be permissible.
Citizens, political parties, and social organizations that do not
have their own printing house, shall have the right to use private
and state-run printing house in accordance with financial and
accounting regulations of the concerned printing house.
Audio -Visual (Broadcast) Media
Citizens, political parties, social organizations and other state-run
and private organizations shall have the right to establish audio -
visual media in accordance with the provision of this law.
1. The National Commission of Radio & Television Broadcast,
which shall be comprised of five members, shall be established for
better regulating of audio and visual media.
2. Chairperson and members of the National Commission of Radio &
Television Broadcast shall be appointed by the President for a period
of two years, the commission's tenure can be extended as required.
(1) The National Commission of Radio & Television Broadcast shall
have the following duties and authorities:
1. Issuance of license and allocation of frequency to radio and
television systems in accordance with the already set out standards.
2. Issuance of professional guidance to political parties as for
using radio and television.
3. Issuance of essential guidance to owners of the electronic
media in consultation with the media directors and civil society.
4. Monitoring the observation of the provisions of this law by
5. Determine broadcasting policy of the state-run radios and
(2) The National Commission of Radio & Television Broadcast is an
independent entity and shall report to the President of its
The applicant of audio and visual mass media (Radio and Television)
license shall be bound to provide the following information to the
National Commission of Radio & Television Broadcast, in order to
acquire the license.
1. Full identity and residential domicile.
2. Name and the activity location of the audio and visual media.
3. Type of the audio-visual media.
4. Publications goals and objectives.
5. Source and the amount of budget.
6. Quantity and quality of machinery and equipment.
Every audio - visual media shall have a concessionaire and an
editor-in-chief in accordance with the provision of this law.
Conditions and the obligations of the concessionaire
The concessionaire of a mass media shall meet the following
1. Hold citizenship ID of the country.
2. Have completed 18 years of age.
3. Have not been sentenced to depravity from civil rights by an
1. The concessionaire of audio - visual media and print media
shall be bound to register the media in accordance with the
provisions enshrined in this law.
2. If the publication has started prior to registration, the
concessionaire shall be bound to register the media within one week,
in accordance with the provisions of this law.
If the concessionaire believes that the decision of the Ministry of
Information and Culture regarding the rejection of issuance of
license is in violation of the provision of law, shall refer the case
to Media Evaluation Commission, if still not satisfied, the
concessionaire can appeal to a court.
Article Twenty Seven:
1. The transfer of the ownership of a publication, mass media,
and transfer of copyright shall be permissible. The person to whom
the ownership or the right has been transferred shall be bound to re-
adhere to the provisions of articles 24 and 28 of this law.
2. The right to establish publication organ and media and the
right to print and publish shall lie with the concessionaire. If the
right is transferred to any body else, the provision of article 24
and 28 of this law shall re-apply.
The editor-in-chief of a media shall be held responsible for its
The conditions and obligations of Editor-in-chief
The editor-in-chief shall meet the following requirements:
1. Hold Afghanistan citizenship ID card.
2. Have completed eighteen years of age.
3. Hold certificate of professional education, or at least three
year of experience in journalism.
4. Have not been sentenced to depravity of civil rights by an
5. Being not an official civil servant, unless it is a state-
The editor-in-chief shall balance the right of the critic and
criticized individual in the relevant media.
The publication of the following matters shall not be allowed in the
1. The matters contrary to principles of Islam and offensive to
other religions and sects.
2. The matters leading to dishonoring and defamation of
The concessionaire shall be held accountable in case of violation of
the provisions of this law.
1. The real or incorporeal persons that embark on establishing
mass media in the Afghan territory, neglecting the provisions of this
law shall be sentenced to cash fine.
2. Should the founder or convener of the mass-media be a real
person, shall be cash-fined in the following order:
. Television: fifteen thousands (15,000) Afghanis.
. Radio: ten thousands (10,000) Afghanis.
. Information Agency: ten thousands (10, 000) Afghanis.
3. Should the founder or the convener of the mass-media be an
incorporeal person, shall be cash-fined in the following order:
4. Television: seventeen thousand (17,000) Afghanis.
5. Radio: twelve thousand (12, 000) Afghanis.
6. Cable Network: thirty-four thousand (34, 000) Afghanis.
7. Information Agency: twelve thousand (12, 000) Afghanis.
1. The editor-in-chief can avoid disclosing the name of the
author. In this case, the responsibility arising from the publication
of the subject is directed towards the editor-in-chief.
2. Critic articles with fictitious name of the author shall be
allowed to be published in periodicals. The responsibility arising
from the article or work lies with the editor-in-chief provided he
knows the writer by name and identity.
1. The author shall be prosecuted as the perpetrator of the
offence if he/she is found guilty according to the provisions of this
law, while the editor-in-chief shall be regarded as the accomplice.
2. Should the author is unknown; the responsibility resulted
from the publication of the work lies only with the editor-in-chief.
If the author is sentenced to cash-fine, he/she shall be obliged to
pay the amount during the course of one month from the date of
sentence, according to the provisions of the law.
Citizens of foreign countries shall be allowed to make cinematography
films, on condition of prior permission of Ministry of Information
The activities of the mass medias shall be regulated in a
constitution covering objectives, duties, authorities, structure and
The Ministry of Information and culture is obliged to ensure
facilities required for the free operation of local and foreign mass
The concessionaire and editor-in-chief of the media who have begun
their activities prior to the enforcement of this law shall have to
adhere to its provisions, within two months of its enforcement date.
Printing and publication of text and scientific books of schools and
higher educational, research and professional institutions shall not
be subject to this law.
1. An investigation commission shall be established to
investigate violations stated in this law. The commission shall have
the following structure:
. Minister of Information and Culture, the chairperson,
. Representative of Afghanistan Academy of Sciences, as member,
. Two representatives of Journalism Faculty, as members,
. Representative of Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission,
. Two representatives of Journalists Union, as members.
2. This Commission prescribed in the paragraph (1) of this
article shall investigate the violations stated in this law. Whenever
the matter requires juridical prosecution, it shall refer the case to
a judicial authority for further proceedings.
This law shall turn in to force from the date of endorsement and
shall be published in the Official Gazette. Upon its endorsement, the
previous Media Law published in the Official Gazette, issue No. 800;
dated 18 Hoot 1380 (Afghan Calendar) shall become obsolete.