Constitutional provisions and laws restrict what can be covered in the press and fail to provide protections for journalists. The authorities regularly invoke vaguely worded laws to criminalize dissenting opinions.
Article 24 of the constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but with a broad exception for content that is deemed “detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam or the rights of the public.” The Press Law, first drafted in 1986 and amended in 2000, states that “publications and news media shall enjoy freedom of expression provided what they publish does not violate Islamic principles of the civil code.” Article 3 of the law states, “The press have the right to publish the opinions, constructive criticisms, suggestions and explanations of individuals and government officials for public information while duly observing the Islamic teachings and the best interest of the community.”
Article 500 of the penal code states that anyone who undertakes…
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