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Key features of the draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023

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Key features of the draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023

Context- The Information & Broadcasting Ministry on Friday (November 10) released the draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023, which aims to bring a consolidated legal framework for the broadcasting sector and extend it to OTT content, digital news, and current affairs as well.

(Credits- studywrap.com)

“This pivotal legislation modernizes our broadcasting sector’s regulatory framework, replacing outdated Acts, Rules, and Guidelines with a unified, future-focused approach. It adapts to the dynamic world of OTT, Digital Media, DTH, IPTV, and more, promoting technological advancement and service evolution,” I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said

What does the new draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023, entail?

  • The Bill essentially provides regulatory provisions for various broadcasting services under a single legislative framework. It seeks to replace the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 and other policy guidelines currently governing the broadcasting sector in India.
  • Moreover, the Bill extends its regulatory purview to encompass broadcasting OTT content, digital news and current affairs currently regulated through the IT Act, 2000.
  • It also includes provisions for emerging broadcasting technologies, according to a government source.
  • Consisting of six chapters, 48 sections and three Schedules, the Bill provides comprehensive definitions for contemporary broadcasting terms along with other important technical terms to be defined in the statute for the first time.
  • It introduces ‘Content evaluation committees’ for self-regulation and ‘Broadcast Advisory Council’ to “advise the central government on programme code and advertisement code violations,”
  • The Bill provides statutory penalties like advisory, warning, censure, or monetary penalties, for operators and broadcasters. Provision for imprisonment and/or fines is also there, but only for very serious offences, such as obtaining registration with a false affidavit.
  • “Monetary penalties and fines are linked to the financial capacity of the entity, taking into account their investment and turnover to ensure fairness and equity,”
  • The Bill aims to make broadcasting more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities. It promotes the use of subtitles, audio descriptors, and sign language. The Bill has a provision for appointing a “Disability Grievance officer”,
  • It also has provisions for infrastructure sharing among broadcasting network operators and carriage of platform services.
  • The Bill “streamlines the ‘Right of Way’ section to address relocation and alterations more efficiently, and establishes a structured dispute resolution mechanism”.

Conclusion- Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023 will help  modernizes our broadcasting sector’s regulatory framework. The ministry in a statement said it has invited feedback and comments on the draft Bill from stakeholders within 30 days from the date of its release.

Syllabus- GS-2; Bills

Source- Indian Express

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