MIB released a draft proposal of the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023 !!!

New Delhi : The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has released a draft proposal of the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023. This proposed draft Bill provides for a consolidated framework for regulating broadcasting services in the country, as well as changes to the existing Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and other policy guidelines currently governing the broadcasting sector in the country. Also tries to bring.

The Bill streamlines regulatory processes as well as expands its scope to cover over-the-top (OTT) content and digital news and introduces contemporary definitions and provisions for emerging technologies. It also provides for content evaluation committees and a broadcasting advisory council for self-regulation, separate program and advertising codes for different broadcast network operators, accessibility measures for the disabled and statutory penalties, etc.

The proposed Bill consists of six chapters, 48 sections and three schedules.

Its main features:

  • Consolidation and Modernization: This addresses the long-standing need to consolidate and update the regulatory provisions for various broadcasting services under a single legislative framework. This step streamlines the regulatory process making it more efficient and contemporary. It currently expands its regulatory scope to include over-the-top (OTT) content and broadcast of digital news and current affairs, regulated through the IT Act, 2000 and the rules made thereunder.
  • Contemporary definitions and provisions tailored to future requirements: To keep pace with emerging technologies and services, the Bill introduces comprehensive definitions for contemporary broadcasting terms and incorporates provisions for emerging broadcasting technologies.
  • Strengthens self-regulation mechanism: It enhances self-regulation with the introduction of content evaluation committees and evolves the existing inter-departmental committee into a more participatory and comprehensive ‘Broadcast Advisory Council’.
  • Separate Program Codes and Advertising Codes: This allows for a separate approach to program and advertising codes across different services and requires self-classification and stronger access control measures by broadcasters for restricted content.
  • Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities: The Bill caters to the specific needs of persons with disabilities by providing enabling provisions for issuing comprehensive accessibility guidelines.
  • Statutory penalties and fines: The draft bill includes statutory penalties such as advisories, warnings, censure or monetary penalties for operators and broadcasters. The provision of imprisonment and/or fines continues as before, but only for the most serious offences, to ensure a balanced approach to regulation.
  • Equitable penalty: To ensure fairness and equity, the monetary penalty and fine have been linked to the financial capacity of the establishment, keeping in mind the investment and turnover of the concerned establishment.
  • Sharing of infrastructure, platform services and ‘right of way’: The Bill also includes provisions for sharing of infrastructure and carriage of platform services among broadcast network operators. Further, it streamlines the clause related to ‘Right of Way’ and establishes a streamlined dispute resolution mechanism to resolve the issue related to transfers and changes more efficiently.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is committed to usher in a new era of transparency, self-regulation and future-oriented broadcasting services in the country through the Draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023.

The Ministry has invited feedback and comments on the above Bill from various stakeholders including subject matter experts, broadcasting service providers and general public. These comments can be sent through e-mail to jsb-moib@gov.in within 30 days from the date of issue of the press release.

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