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Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill 2023

Context:

Recently, the Lok Sabha passed the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, repealing the colonial era law of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. The Bill has already been passed by Rajya Sabha in August 2023.

Relevance:

GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Features of Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023

Key Features of Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023

Scope and Coverage:

  • The Bill addresses the registration of periodicals, specifically publications containing public news or comments on public news.
  • Exclusions: Books and scientific/academic journals are not considered periodicals under this legislation.

Online Registration:

  • Periodical publishers can register online through the Press Registrar General and designated local authority.

Prohibition and Declaration:

  • Individuals convicted of terrorism or actions against state security are barred from publishing periodicals.
  • A shift from the previous act’s requirement, declarations regarding periodicals are now submitted to the Press Registrar General instead of the District Magistrate.

Reproduction of Foreign Periodicals:

  • Reproduction of foreign periodicals in India requires prior approval from the central government, with specific registration protocols outlined.

Role of Press Registrar General:

  • The Press Registrar General of India is introduced, responsible for issuing registration certificates, maintaining a periodical register, establishing title guidelines, verifying circulation figures, and managing registration revisions, suspensions, or cancellations.

Online Declarations for Printing Presses:

  • Declarations regarding printing presses can now be submitted online to the Press Registrar General.

Suspension and Cancellation:

  • The Press Registrar General can suspend a periodical’s registration for a minimum of 30 days (extendable to 180 days) for reasons such as false information, discontinuity in publication, or inaccurate annual statements.
  • Registration may be canceled for issues like title similarity or convictions related to terrorism or acts against national security.

Penalties and Imprisonment:

  • The Press Registrar General has the authority to impose penalties for unregistered publication or failure to submit annual statements promptly.
  • Non-compliance may lead to imprisonment for up to six months.

Appeals Mechanism:

  • Provisions for appeals against refusal of registration certificates, suspension/cancellation of registration, or imposed penalties are available.
  • Appeals can be filed before the Press and Registration Appellate Board within a 60-day timeframe.

-Source: Indian Express, PIB


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