In a big move, the Narendra Modi government is preparing a new bill for media registration, which will include digital media, which has so far remained outside the government’s registration framework, sources told RepublicTV.
The new bill will propose the regularization and registration of digital news publishers, bringing them on par with newspapers.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has started amending the Press and Periodicals Registration Bill, sources said. It will replace the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.
If the bill passes parliament, digital news portals will need to be registered with the Registrar General of the Press. This will help the government monitor dark funding, fake news and misinformation.
New bill to simplify book publishing
The new bill proposes to simplify book publishing by removing existing provisions relating to book registration and related matters. It also provides for the removal of the existing procedure for publishers/printers to provide a statement before the District Magistrate and its subsequent authentication.
The bill will also allow the Center and state governments to develop appropriate regulations to regulate the criteria for publishing government advertisements in newspapers, accreditation of newspapers and other facilities for newspapers. He also proposed a simple system for registering e-papers.
It is proposed that the process of title and registration of periodicals, including newspapers, be carried out centrally by the Registrar General of the Press as a concurrent process.
In 2019, the Center released a bill that defined digital media news as “news in a digitized format that may be transmitted over the Internet, computer or mobile networks and includes text, audio, video and graphics”. The project had received negative reactions from the opposition and others, following which it was not moved forward.