THE LAW OF THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIAJN ON MASS MEDIA

Adopted on December 7th 1999. №769-IQ.
Alterations and amendments:

1. November 23rd 2001
2. December 28th 2001
3. April 30th 2002.

This Law establishes the general rules of seeking, getting, preparing, transmission, production and dissemination of the mass information in the Azerbaijan Republic, and also organizational, legal and economical fundamentals of activity of press, news agencies, television and radio organizations, directional on a realization of the rights of the citizens on getting of the full, authentic and quick information.

CHAPTER I.
General provisions

Article 1. Freedom of mass information
The mass information in the Azerbaijan Republic is free. Freedom of the mass information is based on supply by the state of the right of the citizens on seeking, getting, preparing, transmission, production and dissemination of information by a valid way.

Establishing of mass media means, possession, use and control to them, seeking, getting, preparing, transmission, production and dissemination of the mass information can not be bounded, except for cases, foreseen by the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic on mass media.

Article 2. Sphere of applying of the present Law
The present Law is diffused to all mass media established on the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic, and also only on a part of mass media, established behind its boundaries and distributed on the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Article 3. The basic concepts
The concepts, used in the present Law, express following values:

the mass information - foreseen for shareware print, audio-, audiovisual messages and other information, seeking, getting, preparing, transmission, production and distribution of which one are not confined to the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic;

mass media - periodic print publications, TV-Radio programs, programs of a newsreel, information agencies, Internet and other forms of distribution;

TV-Radio programs and programs of a newsreel, - collection of audio-, audiovisual messages and materials (transmissions) having a constant title and emitted in an ether not less once annually;

periodic print publications - prepared by means of printing process or any copying machine and having more than 100 copies of single circulation, constant title and flowing number and issued not less than 12 times per year the newspaper and printed not less than 2 times annually magazines, collections, bulletins and other periodic publications;

product of mass media - circulation of one number of print publication or its part, separate discharge of TV-Radio programs, programs of a newsreel, circulation of audio either video record of the program or part of its circulation;

dissemination of the product of mass media - sale or allocation of periodic print publications, TV-Radio programs, audio or video record, distribution of TV-Radio programs, demonstration of newsreel programs;

the specialized mass media - the mass media, for production (distribution) of which one are established special rules by the present Law;

the accountable editor - the editor-in-chief (editor) managing print publication, or person, changing him/her, in a TV-Radio organizations - a person issuing resolution on the distribution of transmissions (programs);

the publisher - publishing house, other entity (holder) or equal to the publisher a physical or legal person, supplying the material side of production of print publications, basic source of the income of which one is not the given area of activity;

the distributor - a physical or legal person executing the distribution of the product of mass media by covenanting with editorial office or publisher or on other valid foundations;

pornographic materials - art, photo product, product of painting, information and other materials, the basic contents of which one is the coarse and unworthy side of anatomic and physiological properties of sexual relations.

Article 4. Basic principles of operation and distribution of mass media (removed with the law of December 28th 2001)

Article 5. The legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic on mass media
The legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic on mass media consists of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, present Law, laws of the Azerbaijan Republic "On freedom of the information", "On the order of consideration of the appeals of the citizens", "On communication", "On state secrets", "On the copyright and related rights", and also other appropriate acts.

In case of conflicts between the intergovernmental agreements maintained by the Azerbaijan Republic and present Law the international contracts are applied.

Article 6. Language of mass media
The state language is used by mass media on the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic. The citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic shall have the right on usage by production and dissemination of the mass information of other languages, on which one speaks the population of the Azerbaijan Republic, and also other languages, widespread in the world.

Article 6-1. Financing of mass media
Mass media shall have the right to be financed by all means except sources restricted by law.

CHAPTER II.
The foundations of freedom of mass information

Article 7. An inadmissibility of censorship
State censorship on the mass media, and also creation and financing of special state organs or posts with this purpose are not enabled. The state organs, municipalities, enterprises, plants and organizations, public associations, officials, and also political parties have no right to require the preliminary agreement with them of the items of information and materials, disseminated in the mass media, or to prohibit their dissemination, except for cases, when they are the authors of the information or interview.

Article 8. The right of mass media on getting the information
The mass media have the right to gain the quick and authentic items of information about economical, political, public and social situation in society, activity of state organs, municipalities, enterprises, plants and organizations, public associations, political patries and officials. This right can not be bounded, except for cases indicated in the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic.

State organs, municipalities, enterprises, plants and organizations, public associations, political parties, the officials give the information on the activity based on the request of mass media, and also by conducting press-conferences or in other forms.

The request for getting the information can be written and oral. The demanded information can be given by (with) the officials of evocative organs, organizations and public associations, their deputies, representatives of a press service or other plenipotentiary persons. The letter of inquiry on getting the information is esteemed in the order and in periods established by the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic. In case in the periods, indicated by the law, the given information will lose the operationability, on request the answer exigent should be given, and if it is not obviously possible - not later than 24 hours. The representative of mass media has the right to give the complaint on refused to give the information state organs, municipalities, enterprises, plants and organizations, public associations, political parties or officials pursuant to the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Article 9. Antimonopoly measures
The state guarantees the self-sufficiency of mass media, takes measures for prevention of monopoly of activity and unfair competitiveness in the field of production and distribution of product of mass media pursuant to the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Article 10. An inadmissibility of abusing the freedom of the mass information Draft on funds of the mass information with the purposes of distribution of secrets guarded by the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic, violent overthrow of an existing constitutional state formation, attempt on integrity of the state, propagation of war, violence and cruelty, national, racial, social hate or intolerance, printing under cover of a title of an authoritative source of hearings, lie also of prejudiced publications humiliating honor and a dignity of the citizens, pornographic materials, slander or undertaking of other unlawful operating is not enabled.

Article 10-1. Secret tape recordings
Only in the following cases it is allowed to use the secret audio and video recordings, films and photos or distribute information and materials prepared using these recordings:

If there is written agreement of the person or citizen and necessary steps are taken to protect Constituional Rights and freedoms of other person;

If demonstrated by the decision of court;

Using secret audio-video recordings, films and photos in violation of the norms of this article causes responcibility relevant to the legislation of Azerbaijan Republic.

Article 11. Special cases bloking the distribution of information, opening the source of information
The editorial office of mass media or journalist is not allowed to:

1. Open information in news and materials which is provided by person with the storage condition;

2. Identify the name of the person who provided information with the storage condition;

3. Distribute information on investigation and research without agreement of researcher, investigator, prosecutor who is heading the processual leadership to the first investigation or the court;

4. Distribution of any information about the person of the minors accused of undertaking of a crime, without theirs consent or consent of their valid representatives.

Responcible editor on publishing (airing) of information of mass media and (or) journalist can't be forced to open the source of information on the cases under investigation or court execution except the cases foreseen by the laws. In this case the responcibility for the picture, article, cartoon with unidentified author is beared by the editor or journalist responcible for the publication.

Editor or journalist in the following cases shall be forced by the court to open their sources of information:

for the protection of human life;

with the purpose to prevent heavy crime;

to protect the person acused or suspected in conducting heavy crime.

The first part of the third paragraph of this article shall not restrict the rights of journalist to conduct independent fact finding.

Article 12. Usage of objects of the copyright and related rights and letters of the readers
Usage by mass media of objects of the copyright and related rights is enabled by observance of requests of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On the copyright and related rights". At the publication (transmission to an ether) of the letters of the readers (listeners, spectators) the abbreviation and editing which is not distorting their contents is enabled. The editorial office is not obliged to answer to the letters of the readers (listeners, spectators), except for cases, foreseen by the legislation.

The editorial office of mass media cannot be urged to publish (to pass in an ether) a material, it has refused which one, except for cases, foreseen by the legislation.

Article 13. Distribution of advertising
The advertising in mass media is prepared and is diffused pursuant to the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On advertising".

The advertising in print publications, which are not specializing on the information and materials of advertising nature, should not compound more than 40 percents of total amount of one number, and in TV-Radio programs (transmissions) - no more than 25 percents of general broadcasting.

CHAPTER III.
Legal basics of the organization of mass media

Article 14. Establishing of mass media
For the the establishing of print publications there is no need to get agreement from the authorities.

The legal or physycal person wishing to establish print publication is obliged to apply officially to the relevant organ of executive authority 7 days before the printing the publication. The application shall consist the followings:

the title of print publication, aim, circulation, legal address;

the name and surname of the founder, editor or editor-in-chief (if any) of print publication;

if the founder or editorial collective of print publication is legal person, the registered charter of that entity.

If the print publication is distributed without notification to the relevant organ of executive power or it is identified that the infromation provided in the application are not true the relevant organ of executive power shall apply to the relevant court to stop the activities of that publication.

State organs, municipalities, political parties (for print publications only), public associations, entities, enterparises and organizations, the citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic permanently leaving in the territory of the country alone or in conjunction with others shall have the right to establish the mass media.

Legal and physycal persons of foreign countries shall have the right to establish mass media in the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic pursuent to interstate agreements signed by the Azerbaijan Republic (under term of legal person of foreign country it is understood that if more than 30% of shares of legal person belong to legal persons or citizens of foreign countries, or more than 1/3 of founders are legal persons or citizens of foreign countries). It is not allowed to state organs, legal and physycal persons of foreign countries to finance mass media organs except the cases foreseen by the part five of this article and Article 21 of this law, also in other cases foreseen by the legislation of Azerbaijan Republic. Also:

the persons who are imprisoned by the court decisions and the persons whose disability is approved by the court;

public associations and political parties which don't have state registration or whose activities are forbidden by the law can't establish mass media organs.

Article 15. Specialized mass media (removed with law of December 28th 2001).

Article 16. News agency
The status and legal position of editorial office of mass media, publisher, distributor, established by the present Law, are referred and to news agency.

The reference to the given news agency should be made by all means at dissemination of news and materials in mass media and of news agencies in other agencies of the mass information.

Article 17. The status of the founder
The founder (cofounder) approves the charter of editorial office of mass media, covenants with editorial office (editor, editor-in-chief), institutes directions of production and distribution of mass media, and decides problems of its financial, engineering supply and equipment.

The founder has the right to appear in mass media, to make an announcement, to publish other official information. The maximal bulk of protrusion and announcement of the founder can be established by the charter of registered editorial office or agreement contracted between the founder and the editor-in-chief (editor). The founder him/herself bears responsibility for the complaints and claims, bound with data by protrusion, announcement and official information. In case of liquidation of the founder (enterprise, plants, organizations, state organs, municipalities, political parties, public associations) the collective of editorial office has the right of priority to establish like mass media, if the registered charter does not stipulate other case.

The founder does not interfere with production and distribution of mass media, except for cases indicated in the present Law, charter and agreement, contracted with editorial office (editor, editor-in-chief). The cofounders of mass media realize activity as the share founder.

Article 18. The status of the publisher
The publisher realizes the rights on a basis of the present Law and also the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic on the plants and enterprise activity and bears the responsibilities pursuant to data by the legislation.

The publisher can be simultaneously the founder, editorial office, and distributor of mass media, holder of property of editorial office.

Article 19. Suspension of production and distribution of mass media or their termination Production and propagation of mass media can be temporarily suspended or ceased only by a solution of the founder or court.

Article 20. A procedure for signing a contract
In the agreement contracted between cofounders of mass media, are pointed their mutual rights, obligations, responsibilities, order, conditions and legal consequences of changing of composition of cofounders, rule of a solution of possible disputes.

In the agreement contracted between the founder and editorial office (editor, editor-in-chief), discover the reflex of property and financial ratios, and also responsibilities of the founder and editorial office (editor, editor-in-chief).

editorial office (editor, editor-in-chief) and publisher, founder and publisher can conclude among themselves and other contracts.

Article 21. Sponsoring of mass media
Financing of production and the distribution of mass media can be made by legal and physical persons of the Azerbaijan Republic. Sponsorship of the producers of the goods, the advertising of which one is prohibited, and persons executing sale of these goods, is not enabled. Legal and physical persons of foreign countries can partly sponsor the mass media (separate numbers of print publications or transmission).

Sponsorship to the mass media shall not effect the independence of anchor and journalist. In periodic print publications prepared with the financial help of the sponsor, the information on it should be printed out, in transmissions in the titres or opened information by means of anchor text are given. Other methods of the declaration of the sponsor can be established in the agreement, contracted between the sides.

CHAPTER IV
Legal foundations of production of printed products

Article 22. Editorial office of print publication
The editorial office shall execute the activity on the basis of professional independence and the charter.

The editorial office as a legal person shall be the founder of print publication, holder of its property, publisher and distributor.

The editor (editor-in-chief) of the print publication shall have higher education and be a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Article 23. The charters of the editorial office
(removed with law of December 28th 2001)

Article 24. Chief editor (editor)
(removed with law of December 28th 2001)

Article 25. The duties of chief editor (editor)
(removed with law of December 28th 2001)

Article 26. The order of distribution of printed products
The products of print publications can be distributed directly by editorial office, publisher, or on a foundation of the agreement by the enterprises of communication, other organizations, and also citizens.

The distribution of products of print publications is considered as commerce, if for it the cost is levied. On product, foreseen for distribution in the noncommercial order, there is a mark "free of charge", and such product is not considered as a subject of distribution by a commercial way.

The precluding to distribution of product of mass media, including expropriating of its circulation or part of circulation, without a solution of court is not enabled.

Article 27. The special cases of laying of the exclusion on distribution of printed product
The solution of the court on delivery on the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic and distribution here of foreign print publications, in which one publishes the information plotting severe injury of integrity of the state and safety of country, and also pornographic materials, the exclusion can be overlapped. The court can accept a quick solution on exception from sale of excessive product of print publication, distributed contrary to requests of a part of the first of the given Article.

Article 28. The abutment information
In each discharge of print publication the following items of information must be given:

title of publication;

information on the founder (cofounder);

surname and name of the editor-in-chief (editors);

sequence number and date of issuing of printing, time of signing in printing (assigned on the profile and actual time);

subscript of issuing distributed by means of organizations of communication;

circulation;

the price (if issuing is diffused in the commercial order) or mark "the free price" or "free of charge";

the address of editorial office and publishing house, where is printed periodic issuing.

Printing and distribution of product of mass media, in which one the abutment information is not indicated, are prohibited.

Article 29. Obligatory copies
After issuing of the first printing of circulation of periodic print publications, they are routed by publishing house to send charge-free obligatory copies to the founder, to state archive, national library, library of statutory organs and appropriate organs of the executive authority.

Article 30. The prints evading state registration
(removed with law of December 28th 2001)

Article 31. Distribution of official information
(removed with law of December 28th 2001)

Article 32. Storage of editorial materials
The materials of editorial offices of print publications (manuscripts, letters, records etc.) are stored within one year.

editorial offices of print publications erect the storage instructions of materials.

CHAPTER V
The legal foundations of TV and radio activity.
(removed with law of December 28th 2001)

CHAPTER VI
Corrections, disproof and answers to information

Article 44. The right of the disproof, rectification and answer
In case of transmission in mass media of the information humiliating honor and dignity of physical and legal persons of slanderous and offensive nature, distorting of thoughts, ownership or his/her representative, the heads of the legal person or its plenipotentiary have the right within one months to require the answer in the given mass media, disproof of the information, depositing of the correction, to require pardon or to convert to court immediately.

In case of mass media were temporarily suspended or its production (propagation) was ceased at the time of complaint or removal by court of a solution the disproof, the answer or correction can be published (are transmit in an ether) at the expense of facilities of the defendant in one of mass media at the discretion of claimant.

Article 45. The order of the disproof, answer and correction
In the disproof it is underlined, what information does not correspond to an actuality, when and how was published in the given mass media. The disproof is published in periodic print publication, as a rule, on page, where the information or material was given and "Disproof" is typed by the same type face under header. The print publications having distribution, should publish the disproof, answer or correction in the paper followed after 10 days from time of inflow of a request about the disproof, answer or correction, other periodic issuing - in discharge, making dispositions or scheduled for the proximate days.

The disproof, answer or correction are read via radio and television in the following appropriate program. Ownership or his/her plenipotentiary representative, head of the legal person or its representative addressed with this request can be given the capability for protrusion with the answer in ether (on the shield).

The disproof or answer is given without any changes in their text. The text of the disproof or answer should not exceed more than twice, refuted information or information, on which one the answer is given.

In discharge, in which one is published (the answer is transmitted in ether), is not enabled to comment or to refute it. The answer to the answer can be placed in mass media, consequent the issue.

At deflection of the disproof, answer or correction within 3 days should be given the justified information to a person, making the demand it.

Foundation for a failure in the disproof can serve following:

if it contradicts the solution of court, which has entered valid force;

if it is unsigned;

if in mass media the disproof under the given information or material already has passed;

if the text of the disproof or answer more than twice exceeds bulk of the refuted information or information, on which one the answer is given;

if from a distribution time of the information or material in mass media more than one months have passed (except the cases while the illness, trip or voyage of the citizen are approved by document).

CHAPTER VII
Status and accreditation of journalists

Article 46. The rights of journalists
(removed with law of December 28th 2001)

Article 47. The duties of journalists
(removed with law of December 28th 2001)

Article 48. Secret taping
(removed with law of December 28th 2001)

Article 49. The status of the journalist
Status of the journalist, established by the present Law, is diffused on:

regular correspondents of mass media occupied in gathering, preparing, editing and production of the information;

freelance correspondents of mass media executing regular orders on gathering, preparing and editing of the information.

Article 50. Accreditation (registration) of the journalist
The mass media can accredit the journalists at state organs, entities, plants and organizations, public associations from their consent and with observance of the rules of accreditation, established by them.

The organs previously notify the accredited journalist on sittings, meetings and other measures, except for enclosed measures, creates a condition for his/her acquaintance with the stenograms, protocols and other documents.

In case of failure by the journalist or editorial office of the rules of accreditation, dissemination of information humiliating honor and dignity of accrediting organizations or distorted or a mismatching actuality, approved by court decision accrediting entity can deprive of the journalist of accreditation.

The accreditation of the special correspondents of editorial offices of mass media is carried out also pursuant to requests of the given Article.

CHAPTER VIII
International cooperation in field of mass media

Article 51. International cooperation
The international cooperation in the field of the mass information is carried out on a foundation of the intergovernmental agreements maintained by the Azerbaijan Republic. The mass media, professional journalist associations of the Azerbaijan Republic can participate in the international cooperation to the aliens and foreign organizations and encompass the agreement by these purposes.

Article 52. A dissemination of information receivable from foreign sources
The citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic have the right to gain the direct information from foreign sources, including mass media.

The limitation of direct acceptance of the television programs is enabled in cases, foreseen by the intergovernmental agreements, contracted by the Azerbaijan Republic.

In case the order of distribution of foreign periodic print publications, founder or constant place of editorial office of which one are outside boundaries of the Azerbaijan Republic, is not established by the intergovernmental agreement contracted by the Azerbaijan Republic, its distribution needs a resolution of the appropriate organ of the executive authority.

Article 53. Activity of the representatives of foreign mass media on the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic
The legal status and professional activity of the foreign correspondents accredited in the Azerbaijan Republic, and other representatives of foreign mass media are regulated by the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic and appropriate intergovernmental agreements. The representations of foreign mass media are opened out in the Azerbaijan Republic with the consent of the appropriate organ of the executive authority, if the intergovernmental agreements do not established other order.

The accreditation of the foreign correspondents in the Azerbaijan Republic is carried out by the appropriate organ of the executive authority pursuant to Article 50 of present Law. The status of the journalist established by the present Law is diffused on the foreign correspondents accredited in the Azerbaijan Republic.

The foreign correspondents who have been not accredited when due here under in the Azerbaijan Republic, use the rights and have the responsibilities diffusing on representations of the foreign legal persons.

In a ratio of the correspondents of mass media of the state steady on the territory special limitations for a realization of professional activity by the correspondents of mass media of the Azerbaijan Republic, the similar limitations can be injected into the answer.

CHAPTER IX
Economic foundations of mass media
(removed with law of December 28th 2001)

CHAPTER X
The responsibility for violating this law

Artcile 58. The liable subjects
removed with law of December 28th 2001)

Article 59. The responsibility for failure of freedom of the mass information and press rights
Any interference of the citizens, state organs, municipalities, entities, plants and organizations, political parties, and also public associations or officials into valid activity of the founders, publishers, editorial offices (accountable editors), distributors and journalists of mass media, including:

applying ofcensorship;

failure of professional independence;

pirate suspension or phase-out the production and distribution of mass media;

enforcement of the journalist to a dissemination of information or waiving of the information;

the introducing of limitations on granting to the journalist of the information or waiving of granting of the publication (airing) of the information, except for the information guarded by the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic;

not granting the answer on journalist request in periods established by the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic;

and also the failure of other rights of the journalist, established by the present Law, which can cause civil, administrative, criminal and other responsibility pursuant to the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Article 60. The responsibility for abusing freedom of mass information and press rights
Editorial office (accountable editor) and journalists (writers) of mass media:

1. For deployment of the information, the announcement of which one is forbidden by the law;

2. In case of absence on the part of the editor-in-chief (editors) of control behind conformity of materials, published in print publications, to requests of the present Law;

3. At a dissemination of information without the indicating of its source, except for cases indicated in the present Law;

4. At an encroachment on personal life of the citizens;

5. At the publication or transmission to ether pornographic materials bear civil, administrative, criminal and other responsibility pursuant to the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Article 61. The responsibility for other cases of defiance of the law on mass media
At failure of positions of the Law "On mass media" in following cases:

1. Unfounded waiving of the disproof, correction and answer, non-observance of the solutions, which have entered valid force, and resolutions of court - editorial office (accountable editor);

2. Failure to meet requirements of Articles 9, 11, 13, 21 and 28 of the present Law - the founder, editorial office, publisher and distributor;

3. Precluding to distribution on valid foundations of product of publication, introducing of pirate limitations on retail sale of circulation of periodic print publication - the officials;

4. For an assumption of pirate financing of mass media manufactured (distributed) on the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic, by state organs, legal and physical persons of foreign countries - the founder and editor-in-chief (editor);

5. At pirate preparing both distribution by editorial office and publishing house of product of mass media after a resolution of court on suspension or phase-out the distribution - the publisher, distributor and editorial office (editor, editor-in-chief) bear civil, administrative, criminal and other responsibility pursuant to the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Article 62. Cases of redemption from responsibility
In case of mismatching the actuality the information disseminated in mass media:

1. Is disseminated by official state organs or their press services;

2. Is obtained from news agencies or press services of entities, plants, organizations, political parties and public associations;

3. Is obtained from other mass media and is not refuted;

4. Is iterated "as is" in official protrusions of the deputies of Milli Mejlis, representatives of state organs, municipalities, entities, plants, organizations and public associations, and also political figures and officials;

5. Was pronounced in protrusions, elapsed in an ether in straight translation, or has passed in the texts which are not subject to editing, pursuant to the present Law, the editorial office (accountable editor), and also journalist does not bear the responsibility for it.
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