• Legis Scriptor

International communication Law

Authored By- Gauhar Alam

Keywords #Communication #obstruction #Convention #Nairobi #Interception #treaties #secrecy #Distress


The right to receive information through various means like radio, Television, etc. is now a well-established right both in India as well as in foreign countries. This right has been recognized in the constitution of India as well as in various international instruments. But the right to receive information is not absolute; it is subject to many restrictions.

International Communication law consists of rules and regulations enacted by the states to govern the use of technologies.

What happens when the radio station of one state makes hindrance in the operation of services in another state?

What is the dispute resolving body in such matters?

The author in this article will try to answer such questions.


International communication law is mainly concerned with the bilateral and multilateral treaties related to communication.

The most important of all the treaties are the International telecommunication convention, 1982 also known as the Nairobi Convention. This convention preamble regards it as one of the basic instruments of the International Telecommunication Union enacted for the preservation of the peace and social and economic development of all the countries.

The international telecommunication union (ITU) was formed as a specialized agency of the United Nations to regulate the matters relating to the communication. This agency has been empowered to make regulations in matters relating to Communication.

Article 19 in the convention confers the power of the member states to stop the telecommunications services in the following situations-

Member states reserves the right to stop any private telegram service if it causes danger to the security of the state or is contrary to the laws of that state.

Article 20 of the International telecommunication convention, 1982 confers a very important right to the member state. Under this right, the member states can suspend the international telecommunication services for an indefinite time but this action has to be immediately notified to the other member states through secretary generals which are getting affected by it.

Article 35 of the convention is one of the significant articles which provides for the consequences of harmful interference.

Harmful interference has been defined in Annexure 2 of the International telecommunication convention, 1982 as follows-

“Interference which endangers the functioning of a radio navigation service or other safety services or seriously degrades, obstructs or repeatedly interrupts a radio communication service operating following the Radio Regulations.”

This article provides that all the stations established in a state for any purpose shall be so operated as not to cause harmful interference to radio service or any other communication of any other member state or any private player. Each member state us required to comply with this provision.

Further, the member states are also empowered to prevent the installation of any electrical apparatus which may destroy the radio signals.

Article 22 of the International telecommunication convention, 1982 in a way ensures the right to privacy of the member states in telecommunications.

The marginal note of Article 22, International telecommunication convention, 1982 reads “secrecy of telecommunication”. This article says that members agree to take all possible measures to ensure the secrecy of international correspondence.

Article 37 of the International telecommunication convention, 1982 relates to False and deceptive distress and reads as under-

“Members agree to take the steps required to prevent the transmission or circulation of false or deceptive distress, urgency, safety or identification signals, and to collaborate in locating and identifying stations transmitting such signals from their own country.”

Initial articles of the International telecommunication convention, 1982 provide for the constitution and establishment of the International Telecommunication Union. Article 1 of the Nairobi Convention deals with the composition of the union, article 2 provides for the rights and obligations of the member states.

International telecommunication regulations were made in the year 1988 for considering proposals for a new regulatory framework to cater for the new situation in the field of new telecommunications services.


International communication law is that law which governs the matters related to telecommunication between the states. Although all the states are sovereign in them and can install any telecommunication apparatus in their country this right is not absolute if it causes problems in the working of the telecommunication system in the neighboring state.

International Communication law has grown a lot in the past few years. With the commencement of advanced technologies, there arises a need to bring in new laws. The international law of Communication is an ever-growing field of law which will develop more in the upcoming years.






5.International telecommunication convention, 1982