Draft for a Common Arab Press and Publications Law (FINAL PART) [Archives:2001/31/Law & Diplomacy]

July 30 2001

Journalists Duties:
In whatever he writes, the journalist has to uphold effective laws and the constitution, being highly aware of the basics of virtue, truth and ethics of the press in a way that preserve the customs and norms of the society. This should not be a violation of any citizens rights or freedoms. He should not take sides with ethnic, extremists work, those violating human rights issues, offending religions, suspecting people’s beliefs, or calling for nepotism.
The journalist has also to abide by the press code of conduct issued by the journalists syndicate as he is accounted for and is subject to disciplinary actions when violating his obligations.
Article No (15):
The journalist should not interfere in the private affairs of people, though commenting on the private life of people working in the public institution, on the behavior and manners of the public prosecution or those in charge of some public institutions is allowed as long as this is for the public interest.
Article No (16):
According to the right of response, the chief editor is responsible to publish in accordance with the concerned personalities or institutions notices that clarify what has already been published. The notices have to be published within three days of receiving the correction notices or at most on the first upcoming edition of the paper, in the same place and with the same letters in which the piece of news was published. The notices have to be published for free if the correction notice is not longer than the news item published. If it is longer than the news item, the newspaper has the right to claim for some money in accordance with its ads list.
Article No (17):
Correction notices may not be published in the following conditions:
1- If the correction of the news item comes after 30 days of publication.
2- If the newspaper has corrected the news item in the same context as the correction notice.
3- If the correction notice was not edited in the same language of the news item.
Publication should not be accepted if it poses a crime penalized by the law or when they violate the public ethics.
Article No (18):
The newspaper’s act to publish the correction notice in accordance with conditions of the law is deemed as a suitable compensation for the affected if it is true.
Article No (19):
Newspapers are to back up with its editors when have to compensate others due to any sort of publication.
Article No (20):
Newspapers are banned to deal with what investigation authorities or courts deal with in a way that influence the just of the investigation or the court proceedings.
The newspaper should not publish the crimes’ news or reveal names and pictures of suspects or those accused of juvenile crimes or adultery as it should publish information of the general prosecution, decisions and verdicts in issues that are dealt with satisfactory background for these verdicts.
Article No (21):
Newspapers have no right to publish contents of proceedings that the court decides to look into in close sessions. They also should not defame events taking place in public sessions in a different picture to reality.
Article No (22):
Newspapers should not publish what take place in close sessions of prosecutions councils or painting a different picture to procedures taking place in public sessions.
Article No (23):
Newspapers or journalists are banned to accept directly or indirectly any kind of donations and aids or any other privileges from any foreign organizations. Any rise in ad prices advertised by these organizations is deemed as an indirect aid. He who violates this is fined. The violator is also to pay an amount double to the aid or the privilege for the Journalists Syndicate Salaries.
Article No (24):
Newspapers are banned to publish any ad whose content contradict with the fundamentals of society, norms and social customs or with the mission of the press and its objective. It’s preferable to separate between the information and advertising articles.
Article No (25):
Journalists are not allowed to work in the field of ads or editing them or to gain direct or indirect allowances or privileges by revising, editing or publishing ads as he is not allowed to sign his name on an advertising material.
Article No (26):
All the newspapers and media institutions are to announce their budget. Administrative bodies are to regularly monitor and supervise the institution records for legal, financial and administrative legitimacy.
Responsibility for Crimes of Publication:
Article No (27):
Commenting and freedom of expression are sacred and ensured. No harm if a journalist publishes something he thinks it is true after being careful and cautious. He whoever puts the truth of any news item published into question, the burden of proof lays upon him.
Article No (28):
Punishment restricting freedom are called off in crimes related to newspapers indicated by all the laws. Fine punishment should be suffice on condition that the minimum and maximum levels of fines stipulated are doubled.
Article No (29):
Penal responsibility form crimes of publication are personal responsibility and should not involve the editor in chief, lest there is a proof that publication was endorsed by him and the journalist publishing the item was not identified.
Article No (30):
Whatever information, data, documents the journalist has and are related to his work should not be used as evidence against him in any penal investigation. Competent law enforcement authorities have to note them down, let the journalist sign on them, then they are to be given back to him.
In investigation and Proceedings:
A competent court is to be set up in the Supreme court to investigate in crimes of publication. It is to be consisted of three court consultants who are to be chosen annually by its general association through election. The oldest of whom should be the chairman. This court is to investigate in suits filed by the prosecution or those affected or harmed in crimes of publication. It also has to conduct legal proceedings against any journalist in case of committing any crime.
Article No (32):
Existing competent courts are specialized in looking into crimes committed by the newspapers. Suits are to be filed in the whereabouts of the main office of newspaper or their authorized office if the main office is outside the country.