New Delhi: The information and broadcasting ministry has issued draft amendments to the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, aimed at updating the law and strengthening the Registrar of Newspapers.
The proposed Press and Registration of Books and Publications Bill, 2009, published by the ministry on its website in consultation with the department of legal affairs, empowers the Press Registrar General to conduct verification with reference to claimed circulation figures as projected in the annual statement of a publisher through any authorized agent. The expenses of the circulation verification would be borne by the publication.
The proposed legislation lays down penalties for breaches of the law. According to the proposal, the first offence is liable for suspension of publication for up to 30 days, or a fine of up to Rs5,000, or both.
The new Act has proposed to replace the word “newspaper” as prescribed by the Act of 1867 to “publication” to include a wider array of media including “newspapers, magazines, journals or newsletters printed periodically including and published in India, or any syndication, facsimile edition, and Indian edition of foreign periodicals”.
To avoid any conflict with relation to the title rights of any publication, the ministry has proposed the insertion of a new section defining the conditions for title verification. The owner of any proposed publication may make an application for title verification and propose upto five titles in order of preference.