Centre may shelve proposal for registration of digital media under PRB Act: Official

NewsDrum Desk
25 Nov 2022

New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) The government plans to shelve the proposal for registration of digital media under the colonial era law dealing with registration of newspapers and periodicals, a senior official said on Friday.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had proposed to include registration of digital media as part of amendments to the Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867, but is likely to shelve it after it received comments against the move.

"We are reviewing that proposal. Registration of digital media may not be there in the final version," the official said.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, at a media event, had said that the government planned to amend the PRB Act that dated back to the colonial era as part of its efforts aimed at "ease of doing business" in the media sector.

"Starting a newspaper was a cumbersome task. One had to do several rounds of the office of District Magistrate and offices in Delhi. I assure you that this entire process will be done online. If it takes about four months to register a newspaper, it will happen within seven days," Thakur said.

He said the government had left the issue of regulation of print and digital media to the respective sectors.

"Be it digital or print, we have left it for self-regulation. Newspapers always publish news with authenticity, but social media does pose a challenge. We are treating this issue with utmost caution as we have to strike a fine balance in this regard," Thakur said.

According to the proposed amendments to the PRB Act, the government plans to shift registration of newspapers and periodicals to a web portal and make the process of checking for availability of a newspaper title digital.

Currently, a person wanting to start a newspaper has to submit an application with the district collector, who sends it to the Registrar of Newspapers in India (RNI) to check for title availability.

The registration process moves forward only after the RNI conveys the availability of the title to the collector, who then administers the oath to the person keen on starting a newspaper as per the provisions of the PRB Act. PTI SKU SMN

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