Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/37/68 para 89
Full recommendation:
The Special Rapporteur further urges the Government, in line with its international obligations,
to guarantee the freedom of the press and media, and immediately release all detainees who
have been imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of opinion, expression and
unobstructed peaceful assembly. The Special Rapporteur further urges the Government to amend
or rescind laws, policies and parliamentary measures that contravene freedom of expression and
that restrict access to information, including online information.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
A. The Special Rapporteur further urges the Government, in line with its
international obligations, to guarantee the freedom of the press and media
Iranian law, including the Islamic Penal code and the press law, enables Iranian authorities to
label as crime any act of criticism against the policies or practices of government institutions.2
Articles 23 and 24 of the Iranian Constitution recognize the right to freedom of thought and
expression while prohibiting censorship of press.3 However, Article 24 restricts freedom of the
press “when it is detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam or the rights of the public.”4
The “fundamental principles of Islam” or “the rights of the public” are not explicitly defined
under Iranian law which grants Iranian authorities significant discretion to restrict the right to
freedom of expression, freedom of the press and media. These legal guarantees are further
undermined by the criminalisation under the Islamic Penal Code of vaguely defined charges such
as “violating public morals”, “sowing corruption on earth” or disturbing national security5,
consequently largely restricting the right to freedom of expression.5
The 1986 Press Law, amended in 2000, provides vague and broad content-based restrictions on
traditional and online media. For example, news reports may only be published in pursuit of one
of the five “legitimate objectives”, including “to campaign against manifestations of imperialistic

1

CCCPR.19.1.S.1.; CCPR.19.2.S.1.; CCPR19.2.S.2; CCPR.19.2.P.2.; CCPR.19.2.P.2.; CCPR.19.2.P.3; CCPR.19.1.O.1.;
CCPR.19.2.O.1.; CCPR.19.2.O.2.; CCPR.19.2.O.5.
2
Article 608, 609 and 697 of Islamic Penal Code: https://shenasname.ir/laws/4475-ghanon-mojazat
3
The Constitution states that the press is free to express its views, unless it violates the principles of Islam and public law. The
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, <https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b56710.html >
4
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/constitutionenglish-1368.pdf
5
Article 608, 609, 697 and Article 498 to 512 of Islamic Penal Code 2013 : https://shenasname.ir/laws/4475-ghanon-mojazat

1

Select target paragraph3