The Information & Broadcasting Ministry is proposing a new Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill to regulate broadcasting services, including DTH, OTT, and digital news platforms. The draft Bill, released for public consultation, aims to replace the outdated Cable TV Networks (Regulations) Act 1995 and other governing policies.
The proposed legislation includes content evaluation committees, a more participative Broadcast Advisory Council for self-regulation, differentiated codes for programs and advertisements, and statutory penalties. Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur described the draft as a “pivotal legislation” to modernize the regulatory framework for the dynamic world of broadcasting, adapting to emerging technologies.
The bill introduces contemporary definitions and extends regulatory purview to cover OTT content and digital news. It mandates self-regulation through Content Evaluation Committees and proposes a Broadcast Advisory Council with independent experts.
The draft allows differentiated codes for various services, requiring self-classification of content and access control for restricted content. Statutory penalties, including advisory, warning, censure, or monetary penalties, are proposed, with provisions for imprisonment and fines for serious offenses.
The bill also suggests fairness by linking monetary penalties to the entity’s investment and turnover. It includes provisions for infrastructure sharing among broadcasting network operators and carriage of platform services. Overall, the proposed unified law is seen as a positive step for business ease and appropriate regulation.