Parliament passes bill to ease periodical, newspaper registration process

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NEW DELHI: Parliament on Thursday passed a bill to replace a British-era law governing the publishing industry and simplify the process of registration of periodicals.
Information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur said the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, which was passed by voice vote in the Lok Sabha, will make the registration of periodicals a one-step process as against the eight-step process in the archaic law.
The bill replaces the Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867. The Rajya Sabha had passed the bill during the monsoon session on August 3 this year.
“This bill is simple, smart and has a simultaneous process for registration of newspapers and periodicals. Earlier newspapers or magazines had to pass through an eight-step registration process. This can now be done at the click of a button,” he said and added that the bill is truly “Bharatiya” and encourages entrepreneurship in the media sector.
The new bill makes the process of allotment of title and registration of periodicals simple and simultaneous, through an online system without the requirement of any physical interface.
This would enable the Press Registrar General to fast track the process, thereby ensuring that publishers, especially small and medium publishers, face little difficulty in starting a publication.
Most importantly, the publishers would no longer be required to file a declaration with the district magistrates or the local authorities and get such declarations authenticated. Furthermore, printing presses would also not be required to furnish any such declaration; instead only an intimation would be sufficient. The entire process presently involved eight steps and consumed considerable time.
Introducing the bill, Thakur said “The bill reflects yet another step of the Modi Government towards jettisoning the mentality of slavery and bringing new laws for new India”.
The minister further added that it has been the priority of the Government to end criminality, improve ease of doing business and ease of living through new laws and accordingly, efforts have been made to substantially decriminalise the colonial era statute. For certain violations, financial penalties have been proposed instead of conviction as earlier. Further, a credible appellate mechanism, headed by the chairperson, Press Council of India has been provided for.
Stressing upon the ease of doing business aspect, Thakur said title registration process, which sometimes took 2-3 years, would now be done in 60 days.



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