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Lok Sabha passes Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill

21.12.2023

In a historic decision, the Lok Sabha passes 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 the Monsoon Session.The new statute - The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023 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.

Now, 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 8 steps and consumed considerable time.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 decriminalize the colonial era statute.

The Act of 1867 was a legacy of the British Raj which intended to exercise complete control over the press and the printers and publishers of newspapers and books along with heavy fines and penalties including imprisonment for various violations. It was felt that in today's age of free press and the Government's commitment to uphold media freedom, the archaic law was totally out of sync with the current media landscape.

Tags : Registration Periodicals Bill Approval

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