Editors Guild terms draft Broadcast Services (Regulation) Bill "vague", "excessively intrusive"

In a letter to the Information and Broadcasting Minister, the Guild expressed concerns about the bill's impact on freedom of speech and the press

The Editors Guild highlighted issues such as overbearing self-regulation & government control over content evaluation committees (photo: National Herald archives)
The Editors Guild highlighted issues such as overbearing self-regulation & government control over content evaluation committees (photo: National Herald archives)
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PTI

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) has said the draft Broadcast Services (Regulation) Bill circulated by the government is "vague and excessively intrusive".

In a letter to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, the Guild said the new bill would prove "adverse to the spirit of freedom of speech and freedom of the press guaranteed by the Constitution" and lay the ground for the creation of an "overarching censorship framework" through the establishment of a broadcast advisory council.

Outlining four major concerns, the Guild said the bill would result in an "overbearing system of self-regulation" mandating the creation of content evaluation committees in a manner that allows the government to have a greater degree of control on those committees.

The press body said the bill allows the government to regulate, or even prohibit, the transmission of channels or programmes on vague grounds.

"Provisions that allow government excessive delegation of rule-making are also problematic as they lead to uncertainty for the stakeholders who may be impacted by the draft bill and prevent individuals from being fully informed so as to meaningfully engage in the consultation process," the Guild said in the letter dated 7 December 2023, which was made public on Monday, 15 January.

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Published: 16 Jan 2024, 8:55 AM
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