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Centre likely to introduce bill in Parliament to regulate digital media: Reports

Under the Registration of Press and Periodicals Bill, that proposes to bring digital media on par with newspapers, digital platforms will have to apply for registration, sources said. The draught, which has yet to be considered by Cabinet, intends to include "news on digital media via any electronic device."

Centre likely to introduce bill in Parliament to regulate digital media Reports gcw
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New Delhi, First Published Jul 15, 2022, 5:05 PM IST

The Centre is expected to introduce laws to control digital media in the country and may face action for "violations" under the Registration of Press and Periodicals Bill, according to reports. If approved, the bill will replace the Press and Registration of Books Act of 1867, which governs newspapers and printing presses in India.

Under the Registration of Press and Periodicals Bill, that proposes to bring digital media on par with newspapers, digital platforms will have to apply for registration, sources said. The draught, which has yet to be considered by Cabinet, intends to include "news on digital media via any electronic device."

According to reports, internet publishers would be required to register with the Press Registrar General, thereby placing digital media under government oversight. The Registrar of Newspapers, a statutory authority of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, now oversees and monitors newspaper production and publication in the country.

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The Centre published a draft Registration of Press and Periodicals Bill in 2019 that described digital media news as "news in digitised format that may be delivered via the internet, computer or mobile networks and comprises text, audio, video, and graphics."

Digital news publishers must apply for registration and must do so within 90 days of the statute taking effect. Digital publishers will be required to register with the Press Registrar General, who will have the authority to act against various media for infractions, suspend or cancel registrations, and issue penalties.

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According to authorities, an appellate board with the Chairperson of the Press Council of India as its leader is being developed. According to reports, the Bill has yet to be authorised by the Prime Minister's Office and other stakeholders. The revisions will place digital news sources under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. In 2019, a prior attempt to control digital media under new Information Technology guidelines generated a massive uproar.

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