Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023

In a significant move towards simplification and efficiency, the Parliament passed the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, on Thursday. The legislation aims to revolutionize the process of allotment of title and registration of periodicals, introducing a seamless online system without the need for physical interfaces. The bill, which received unanimous approval in the Lok Sabha through a voice vote, had already been passed in the Rajya Sabha on August 3. This new enactment replaces the archaic Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867.

Simplified One-Step Registration Process

Addressing the Lok Sabha, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur emphasized the transformative nature of the bill, highlighting that it streamlines the registration of periodicals into a straightforward one-step process. This modern approach replaces the cumbersome eight-step process mandated by the outdated British-era law. Minister Thakur noted that the new bill is both simple and smart, allowing for the swift and simultaneous registration of newspapers and periodicals with just a click of a button.

Decriminalization and Financial Penalties

One of the key aspects of the bill is the government’s commitment to decriminalizing statutes inherited from the colonial era. The legislation proposes financial penalties for certain violations instead of criminal convictions. To ensure a fair and credible appeals process, an appellate mechanism headed by the Chairperson of the Press Council of India has been integrated.

Title Registration

The title registration process, which previously extended to 2-3 years, will now be expedited to a mere 60 days. This, the minister believes, will empower the Press Registrar General to fast-track the registration process, benefiting small and medium publishers and facilitating a smoother start for new publications.

Elimination of Declarations and Intimations

Under the new law, publishers will no longer be burdened with filing declarations with District Magistrates or local authorities, eliminating a bureaucratic hurdle. Similarly, printing presses will only require an intimation, simplifying the administrative process. This streamlined approach aligns with the government’s vision of fostering a conducive environment for the media industry.



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