Accountability systems

The Press Law states that to issue a publication or to open a news site or a blog, a licence from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is necessary. Using foreign aid directly or indirectly is forbidden and considered a crime. The Press Supervisory Board is the body that investigates the competency of applicants, requesting information of “competent authority”, that is the Ministry of Intelligence, of Justice and the police. The board is also responsible for examining press violations, shutting down the publications if deemed necessary and filing requests for legal proceedings to competent courts. According to article 10 of the law, it “shall consist of devoted Muslims”, including a judge of the Supreme Court, the minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, a member of parliament, a university professor, a managing director of a newspaper, a teacher of Qom religious seminary and a member of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution.

Article 34 of the Press Law states that crimes attributed to the press can be examined by a general court or a revolutionary court, in accordance with the laws pertaining to inherent competency

In March 2012 the Supreme Leader issued a decree establishing the Supreme Council on Cyberspace (SCC), under his direct control. The SCC, according to Freedom House, “is intended to provide a centralised focal point for policy making and regulation of Iran’s virtual space, effectively removing such authority from the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government.”