THE MASS MEDIA
The Constitution provides for freedom of the press as long as
published material accords with Islamic principles. The publisher
of every newspaper and periodical is required by law to have a
valid publishing license. Any publication perceived as being anti-Islamic
is not granted a publication license. In practice, the criteria
for being anti-Islamic have been broadly interpreted to encompass
all materials that include an antigovernment sentiment. In 1987
all the papers and magazines in circulation supported the basic
political institutions of the Islamic Republic.
The major daily newspapers for the country are printed in Tehran.
The leading newspapers include Jumhori-yi Islami, Resalat,
Kayhan, Abrar, and Ettelaat. The Tehran Times
and Kayhan International are two English-language dailies
in Tehran. While all these newspapers are considered to be appropriately
Islamic, they do not endorse every program of the central government.
For example, Jumhori-yi Islami, the official organ of
the IRP before its dissolution in 1987, presents the official
government line of prime minister Musavi. In contrast, Resalat
is consistently critical of government policies, especially those
related to the economy. The other newspapers criticize various
aspects of governmental policies but do not have a consistent
No prior censorship of nonfiction exists, but any published book
that is considered un-Islamic can be confiscated, and both the
author and the publisher are liable for attempting to offend public
morals or Islam. Private publishing companies thus tend to restrict
their titles to subjects that will not arouse official ire. Numerous
new books in history, science, geography, and classical poetry
and literature have been published since 1987, including many
manuscripts that had been banned under the shah. Virtually no
new works of contemporary fiction, however, have appeared in print.
All radio and television broadcasting is controlled by the government.
Television and radio stations exist in Tehran and the major provincial
cities. Stations in Azerbaijan and Kordestan are permitted to
broadcast some programs in Azeri Turkish and Kurdish. Several
of the banned opposition groups broadcast into Iran from stations
in Iraq or the Caucasus republics of the Soviet Union. Both the
British Broadcasting Company and the Voice of America broadcast
Persian-language news and feature programs to FM radio channels
Data as of December 1987