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India puts new Bill for regulating media up for public consultation; some issues

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is hosting a consultation for a law that will regulate print and digital media, and seeks to replace the Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867. Called the Registration of Press and Periodicals (RPP) Bill, 2019, the draft bill is up for consultation, and you may mail suggestions by December 25, 2019 to jspna-moib@nic.in. Defining news digital media This bill comes shortly after the cabinet approved a regressive plan to reduce foreign direct investment in news digital media from 100% to 26%, where it didn't define exactly what news digital media is. Although this particular bill should provide some clarity, in its current form, it doesn't. It doesn't even define what news is. It's also not clear as to which types of digital media entities will have to register with the government. Section 18 of the bill (in Part VIII) states: REGISTRATION OF PUBLISHERS OF NEWS ON DIGITAL MEDIA 18. The publishers of news on Digital Media shall register themselves with the Registrar of Newspapers of India in such manner and giving such particulars as may be prescribed. There are two possible interpretations of this Section: a. Everyone will have to register: "News on Digital Media" is defined as: (k) “news on digital media” is the news in digitized format that can be transmitted over the internet, computer or mobile networks and includes text, audio, video and graphics; If you go by this definition (which I refer to as the k+18 option), any…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

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