Draft Press and Periodicals Rules 2024
Seeking public comments, India’s I&B Ministry issued draft rules for implementing the Press and Periodicals Registration Act 2023 passed recently. The rules outline the powers and processes for the Press Registrar.
Inspection Triggers for Media Houses
As per the draft, physical inspection of a publisher’s business premises can be taken up if annual statements are not submitted regularly or a desk audit flags issues requiring further verification.
Press Registrar’s Discretionary Powers
The Registrar can also initiate inspection after receiving complaints about a publication or if deemed necessary for other exceptional reasons. Justification for the same has to be recorded in writing.
Verification of Circulation Claims
Another provision enables verifying circulation numbers if a newspaper seeks central government ads or is subjected to complaints. Initial checking has to be via desk audit of submitted information.
Concerns Around Sweeping Powers
Some experts have criticized the discretionary physical inspection clauses as giving sweeping powers to the authorities with possibilities of misuse to harass media outlets.
About Press and Registration of Periodicals Act
The Press and Registration of Periodicals Act enacted by the Indian Parliament in 2023 aims to replace the archaic 1867 Press and Registration of Books legislation instituted during colonial rule. It was formally implemented from December 29 after getting legislative approval and presidential assent.
The 156-year-old Press Act was criticized as an obsolete legislation lacking required oversight mechanisms for digital age media platforms. By repealing and introducing updated provisions governing registration of publishers and norms compliance, the 2023 Act seeks to catalyze responsible journalism and curb misinformation proliferation enabled via modern technologies.
Category: Legal & Constitution Current Affairs