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Draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023

Why is it in the news?

  • The Information & Broadcasting Ministry has released the draft Broadcasting Services Bill for public consultation, seeking input and feedback from citizens.
  • Bill expands Cable and TV act scope to cover a wide range of broadcasting services, including Direct-to-Home (DTH), Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms, Digital Media, and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV).

 

More about the news

  • Extension to Over-the-Top (OTT) Content and Digital News: Expands regulatory purview to include OTT content, digital news, and current affairs. Further, it brings these under the scope of the new bill, replacing regulations under the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.
  • Inclusion of Emerging Technologies: Addresses emerging broadcasting technologies such as DTH, IPTV, and more.
  • Self-Regulation: Establishes ‘Content evaluation committees’ for self-regulation; and introduces a ‘Broadcast Advisory Council’ to advise the government on program and advertisement code violations.
  • Statutory Penalties: Imposes penalties like advisory, warning, censure, or monetary fines for operators and broadcasters. Allows for imprisonment and/or fines for serious offenses, such as false registration affidavits.
  • Accessibility for People with Disabilities: Promotes inclusivity by requiring subtitles, audio descriptors, and sign language. It appoints a “Disability Grievance officer” for addressing disability-related concerns.
  • Infrastructure Sharing: Encourages infrastructure sharing among broadcasting network operators.
  • Structured Dispute Resolution: Streamlines the ‘Right of Way’ section to resolve disputes effectively.

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