Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill gets approved by the Lok Sabha.

The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, a colonial-era statute, was repealed today by the Lok Sabha in a historic decision that passed the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023. During the Monsoon Session, the Rajya Sabha previously passed the bill.

The Press and Registration of magazines Bill, 2023, a new statute, streamlines and expedites the process of granting titles and registering magazines through an online system that does not require a physical interface. By doing this, the Press Registrar General would be able to expedite the procedure and guarantee that beginning a publication would not pose a significant challenge for publishers, particularly small and medium-sized ones.

Most notably, the publishers would no longer have to authenticate their declarations and file them with the District Magistrates or local authorities. Additionally, printing presses would merely need to provide an indication rather than having to provide any kind of declaration. There were currently eight steps in the overall process, and it took a long time.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Singh Thakur, introduced the Bill in the Lok Sabha, stating that it “reflects yet another step of the Modi Government towards jettisoning mentality of slavery and bringing new laws for new India.” The Minister went on to say that attempts have been taken to significantly decriminalize the colonial era statute because it has been the government’s objective to reduce crime, enhance the ease of conducting business, and improve living conditions through new laws.

Instead of a conviction as was previously the case, cash fines have been suggested for some infractions. Additionally, a reliable appeals process has been established, which will be presided over by the Press Council of India Chairperson.

The Act of 1867, a remnant of the British Raj, sought to impose total control over the press as well as the printers and publishers of books and newspapers. It also included harsh fines and penalties, such as incarceration, for a number of infractions. It was believed that the antiquated rule was completely out of step with the modern media environment, especially in light of the free press and the government’s dedication to preserving media freedom.

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