Nod for print media law amendment

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 11, 2011 Published on February 11, 2011

In a bid to make the law governing the print media sector contemporary, the Union Cabinet on Thursday approved an amendment to The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.

The proposed Press and Registration of Books and Publications Bill 2010 will include the Internet edition of newspapers under its ambit and prevent blocking of titles to discourage non-serious publishers. It will also include provisions with respect to limits on foreign news content and investment.

“The intent is to streamline the whole process for better verification so that squatters can be avoided,” said the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Ambika Soni. The proposed Bill will also prevent those convicted of a terrorist act or anything done against the security of state from bringing out a publication.

Besides addressing issues such as verification of title and circulation, the proposed legislation will also make it mandatory for publishers to file the annual statements. It will also have enabling provisions with respect to limits on foreign news content (syndication) and foreign investments.

Legal backing

The Bill sets a timeline for bringing out a publication within a year of allotment of title, besides proposing enhancement of penal provisions for violation of guidelines in terms of money.

“There have been a number of guidelines and executive orders on the FDI limit, facsimile editions, scientific, technical and other specialised journals. But these have had no statutory backing. This Bill will now provide the legal backing to these guidelines,” said Mr Raghu Menon, Secretary I&B. However, Mr Menon clarified that there has been no change in the FDI limits.

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Published on February 11, 2011
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