Thursday, 18 September 2014


However, there was no press regulation until the British East India Company started 
ruling a part of India after the Battle of Plassey in 1757. When newspapers in India were published by only Europeans expulsion of the editor (printer) was ultimate penalty. The James Augustus Hickey in 1780 started The Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser, the first newspaper in India. It  was seized in 1872 because of its outspoken criticism of the Government.
Like censorship, licensing was also a European institution to control the press. It was introduced in Bengal in 1823 through Adam’s regulations. The East India Company also 
issued instruction that no servant of the company should have any connection with a 

Licensing  regulations were replaced by Metcalfe’ Act which was applicable to entire territory of the East India Company and required that the printer and publisher of every newspaper declare the location of the premises of its publication. 

Licensing was, however, reintroduced in 1857 by Lord Canning and was applied to all kinds of publications. In 1860 Indian Penal Code was passed as a general law but laid down offences which any writer, editor or publisher must avoid - the offences  of defamation and obscenity. 

The Press and Registration of Books Act (25 of 1867).

 This Act is still in force, of course with amendments from time to time. The object of this Act was to provide for the regulation of the printing presses and of periodical containing news, for the  preservation of copies of books and for the registration of books. It contains rules for the registration of books. It contains rules for the making of declaration by the keepers of presses and publishers of newspapers,  rules regulations for the  delivery of books ; penalties ; registration of book .This Act gave powers to the government to make rules and to exempt books or 
newspapers from the provisions of this Act.

Vernacular Press Act 1878

When the Indian language press became very bold the Vernacular Press Act 1878 was introduced. It was comprehensive and rigorous, aimed at “better control” of the language press. It empowered any magistrate of a district or a commissioner of police in a presidency town to call upon the printer and publisher of a newspaper to enter into a bond undertaking not to publish certain kind of material, to demand security, and to forfeit, if it was thought fit, such presses and confiscate any printed matter as it deemed objectionable. No printer or publisher against whom such action had been taken could have recourse to a court of law. It was particularly meant to crush Amrit Bazar Patrika, which was bilingual before this Act.

Telegraph Act 

In Indiathe Indian Telegraph Act was passed in 1885. . The definition of telegraph in this Act is very wide as it later covered all other means of communication depending on electromagnetic waves, thus including teleprinter, telephone, fax, radio and television. It provides for interception of 
messages and takeover of licensed establishments by the Government in any public emergency or in the interest of public safety. Section 5 of the Telegraph Act 1885 gave power to the central government  authorized by the government to take possession of licensed telegraphs and to order interception of telegraphic messages which include as per section 3(1) of the Act telephone messages also.

 the Newspaper (Incitement to Offences) Act

 In June 1908 the government passed the Newspaper (Incitement to Offences) Act, which gave power to local  authorities to take judicial action against the editor of any newspaper, which indulges 
in writings calculated to incite rebellion. Nine prosecutions were instituted under this Act and as a result seven presses were confiscated. Then came the Press Act of 1910, which empowered the government to demand security from any newspaper, 

Copyright Act 

British Parliament passed the Copyright Act in 1911. Similar provisions came to India by Indian Copyright Act, 1914 . It was replaced by a comprehensive legislation only in 1957 by the new Copyright Act  1957. 

Cinematograph Act 

In 1918 Government passed the Cinematograph Act 1918, which was replaced by 

the Cinematograph Act, 1952 . 

Indian Press Act, 1910:

This act empowered the magistrate to require a deposit of not less than Rs.500 and not more than Rs.2000 from the keepers of news printing presses and publishers of newspapers.
  • The local government could even demand a security deposit of Rs.500 min to Rs.5000 ma
  • It was a huge money which would be generally beyond anybody’s affordability
  • It was imposed due to seditious publication and enlarged to include writing against the Indian Princes, judges, executive officers and public servants
  • Almost 350 printing press were penalized and securities of 40,000 pounds were demanded from newspapers.
  • Because of security deposits, more than 130 newspapers had not starte
  • This act was heavily used against the newspapers Punjabee & Hinduvasi etc.

The Official Secrets Act

In 1923 the Official Secrets Act was passed in order to update and consolidate the existing provisions of Indian Official Secrets Act of 1889, along the lines of the British Acts of 1911 and 1920. The earlier Act was repealed. Section 5 of this Act, which affects the Press deals with “official secrets” and relates to “wrongful communication .

The Foreign Relations Act 

In 1932 the Foreign Relations Act was passed with the object of providing against the publication of statements likely to prejudice the maintenance of friendly relations between the British government and the governments of certain foreign states


In the time of the British  Raj, many laws related to the Press were enacted. In the post-Independence time, the various Governments have enacted many more media related laws. Media being a very powerful influence on the society is regulated and controlled by various legislations enacted from time to time. 

Constitutional Provisions 

The Indian Constitution does not provide freedom for media separately. But there is an indirect provision for media freedom. It gets derived from Article 19(1) (a). This Article guarantees freedom of speech and expression. The freedom of mass media is derived indirectly from this Article. Article 19 of our Constitution deals with the right to freedom and it enumerates certain rights regarding individual freedom of speech and expression etc. These provisions are important and vital, which lie at the very root of liberty. 

Article 19 of the Indian constitution lays down - 

"All citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, to assemble peaceably, and without arms, to form associations or unions, to move freely throughout the territory of India, to reside in any part of the territory of India, to acquire hold and dispose of property and to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. 

However the right to freedom of speech and expression shall not affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the state from making any law insofar as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of that right in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public decency or morality or In relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to offence”. 

List of Acts and Rules applicable to the media industry - 

1. The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 
2. Registration of Newspapers (Central) Rules, 1956 
3. The Press and Registration Appellate Board (Practice and Procedure) Order, 1961 
4. The Press Council Act, 1978 
5. The Press Council Rules, 1979 
6. The Press Council (Procedure for Nomination of Members) Rules, 1978 
7. The Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) (Amendment) Regulations, 2006 
8. The Press Council (Procedure for Conduct of Meetings and Business) 
Regulations, 1979 
9. The Press Council of India (Grant of Certified Copies) Regulations, 1999 
10.The Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of 
Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 
11.The Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions 
Rules, 1957 
12.The Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees Tribunal Rules, 1979 
13.The Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958 
14.The Newspaper (Prices and Pages) Act, 1956 
15.The Delivery of Books and Newspapers (Public Libraries) Act, 1954 
16.The Right to Information Act, 2005 
17.The Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005 
The Central Information Commission (Appeal Procedure) Rules, 2005 
19.The Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations, 2007 
20.The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 
21.The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Rules, 1955 
22.The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 
23.The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Rules, 1982 
24.State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005 
25.State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules, 2007 
26.The Parliamentary Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Act, 1977 
27.The Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act, 1956 
28.The Punjab Special Powers (Press) Act, 1956 (Relevant Provisions) 
29.Copyright Act, 1957 
30.The Dramatic Performances Act, 1876 (Relevant Provisions) 
31.The Cinematograph Act, 1952 
32.The Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983 
33.The Cine-workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) 
Act, 1981 
34.The Cine-Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) 
Rules, 1984 
35.The Cine-Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1981 
36.The Cine-workers Welfare Cess Rules, 1984 
37.The Cine-Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981 
38.The Cine-Workers Welfare Fund Rules, 1984 
39.The Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India ) Act, 1990 
40.The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007 
41.The Sports Broadcast Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Rules, 2007 
42.The Cable Television Networks 
The Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 
44.The Radio, Television and Video Cassette Recorder Sets (Exemption from 
Licensing Requirements) Rules, 1997 
45.The Standards of Quality of Service (Broadcasting and Cable services) (Cable 
Television – CAS Areas) Regulation, 2006 
46.The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (Relevant Provisions) 
47.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997
48.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Miscellaneous) Rules, 1999 
49.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Period for Filing of Application to Authority) Rules, 1999 
50.The Telecommunication Interconnection (Port Charges) Regulation, 2001 
51.The TRAI (Levy of Fees and Other Charges for Tariff Plans) Regulations, 2002 
52.The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Form, Verification 
and the Fee for Filing an Appeal) Rules, 2003 
53.The Telecommunication Interconnection (Charges and Revenue Sharing) 
Regulation, 2001 
54.The Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges Regulation, 2003 
55.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Salaries, Allowances and Other Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Whole-time Members) Rules, 2000 
56.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Procedure for Conducting Inquiry Against a Member) Rules, 1999 
57.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Annual Report and Returns) Rules, 1999 
58.The Telecom Regulatory Authority o India (Form of Annual Statement of Accounts and Records) Rules, 1999 
59.The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulations, 2004 
60.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Access to Information) Regulations, 2005 19 
61.The Common Charter of Telecom Services, 2005 
62.The Regulation on Quality of Service of Basic and Cellular Mobile Telephone Services, 2005 
63.Quality of Service (Code of Practice for Metering and Billing Accuracy) Regulation, 2006 
64.The Standards of Quality of Service (Broadcasting and Cable Services) (Cable Television – CAS Areas) Regulation, 2006 
65.The Quality of Service of Broadband Service Regulations, 2006 
66.The Telecom Consumers Protection and Redressal of Grievances Regulations, 2007 
67.The Telecom Unsolicited Commercial Communications Regulations, 2007 
68.The International Telecommunication Access to Essential Facilities at Cable Landing Stations Regulations, 2007 
69.The Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund Regulations, 2007 
70.The Direct to Home Broadcasting Services (Standards of Quality of Service and Redressal of Grievances) Regulations, 2007 
71.Domestic Leased Circuits Regulations, 2007 
72.The Register of Interconnect Agreements Regulations, 1999 
73.The Indian Post Office Act, 1898 (Relevant Provisions) 
74.The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Relevant Provisions) 
75.The Information Technology (Certifying Authorities) Rules, 2000 

The list of legislations applicable for Information – 

i. Press & Registration of Books Act 1867 
ii. Delivery of Books 'and Newspapers' (Public Libraries) Act, 1954 
iii. Delivery of Books (Public Libraries) Rules, 1955 
iv. Registration of Newspapers (Central) Rules 1956 
v. The Newspaper (Prices and Pages) Act, 1956 
vi. The Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act, 1956 
vii. The Press and Registration Appellate Board (Practice and Procedure) Order, 1961 
viii. The Parliamentary Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Act, 1977 
ix. Press Council Act, 1978 
x. The Press Council (Procedure for Nomination of Members) Rules, 1978 
xi. The Press Council Rules, 1979 
xii. The Press Council (Procedure for Conduct of Meetings and Business) Regulations, 1979 
xiii. The Press Council of India (Grant of Certified Copies) Regulations, 1999 
xiv. Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) (Amendment) Regulations, 2006 
The following guidelines and policies are applicable for Information – 
1) Central Newsmedia Acredition Guidelines, 1999 
2) Guidelines for publication of Indian editions of foreign magazines dealing with news and current affairs 21 
3) Guidelines for syndication arrangeAdvertisement Policy 
5) Electronic Media Advertisement Policy 
6) Guidelines for Empanelment of Audio-Video Producers with DAVP 
7) Policy guidelines for empanelment of private C&S TV Channels for government 
advertisements by DAVP and Other duly authorised agencies of the ministry of I&B 
8) Citizens Charter of Registrar of Newspapers for India 
9) Guidelines for foreign investment in Indian entities publishing Scientific /Technical /Specialty Magazines/Journals/Periodicals 
10)Guidelines for foreign investment in print media news sector/facsimile editions. 
11)The Press Council of India's Norms of Journalistic Conduct