The registration of newspapers and other periodicals will be governed by the provisions of Press & Registration of Periodicals Act, 2023 and its Rules, which came into effect from March 1. It was earlier notified by the Centre and with this the old PRB Act, 1867 stands repealed. ”As per the notification, the office of Press Registrar General of India – PRGI (erstwhile Registrar of Newspapers for India - RNI) shall be carrying out the purposes of the new Act,” the Information & Broadcasting Ministry stated.

Press Sewa Portal

The new Act provides for an online system for registration of newspapers and other periodicals in the country called the Press Sewa Portal. “The new system replaces the existing manual, cumbersome processes involving multiple steps and approvals at various stages which were causing unnecessary hardships to the publishers,” the statement added.

All applications, including the intimation by the printer of a periodical, registration of facsimile edition of a foreign periodical and application by a publisher for obtaining a certificate of registration of a periodical among others will be processed online through the Press Sewa portal. The Press Sewa portal will also be used for obtaining a certificate of registration, application for transfer of ownership of periodicals besides furnishing of annual statement by the publishers, among others.

“The Press Sewa Portal ensures paperless processing and offers services with e-sign facility, digital payment gateway, QR code-based digital certificates for instant download, online system for providing intimation by printing presses, percentage of probability for title availability, online access to registration data for all publishers, filing of annual statements, among others,” the official statement added.

New PRP Act

The I&B Ministry added that the new PRP Act removes books and journals from the purview of registration, which was necessitated by the old PRB Act. It defines periodical as “any publication including a newspaper which is published and printed at regular intervals containing public news or comments on public news but does not include a book or a journal of scientific, technical, and academic nature.”

With the new Act coming into effect, all applications for registration of periodicals will need to be made in online mode through the Press Sewa Portal only. This also means that publishers intending to bring out periodicals will need to register their title before publishing it, the statement added. “As the registration process will be online and guided through the software, the chances for discrepancies in the application will be drastically reduced resulting in faster processing of applications. The status of application will be updated at all stages and the same will be informed to the applicant through SMS and email ensuring transparency and eliminating delay due to miscommunication,” the statement added.