Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is responsible for disseminating information about government policies, schemes and programmes through the mediums of mass communication. It oversees the implementation of rules and regulations related to print and digital media, keeping in view the freedom of the press and the right to free speech. The ministry is functionally organised into three wings:

  • The Information Wing is in charge of disseminating information about government schemes, publishing government advertisements, overseeing the press sector and the public media units including Press Information Bureau, Registrar of Newspapers for India, etc.
  • The Broadcasting Wing administers the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act 1990, and also undertakes broadcasting infrastructure development works. It also regulates the content of private satellite channels under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995.
  • The Films Wing administers the Cinematograph Act 1952, which regulates the certification and exhibition of films in India. It also promotes good cinema by recognising it with awards, and organises various film festivals.

Associated Subordinate and Independent Organisations:

Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is a statutory body under the Cinematograph Act 1952, and is empowered to censor parts of films or ban them not only for decency or morality but ostensibly to “maintain public order and prevent crime”. Films can be publicly exhibited, in theater or on television, only after they are certified by the CBFC. Decisions of CBFC can be appealed to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.

Press Information Bureau (PIB) – the public media outlet.

Press Information Bureau (PIB) is the nodal agency of the Government of India for dissemination of information on government plans, policies, programme initiatives, etc. It also facilitates private media journalists with its accreditation, which enables journalists entry into events involving the President and the Prime Minister, privileges associated with journalism such as entry into government premises without appointment, and subsidised health services under CGHS. A journalist can get accredited with the PIB after five years experience as a full time working journalist, or 15 yrs as a freelance journalist.

Prasar Bharati is a statutory, autonomous public broadcasting agency, under the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act 1990. Doordarshan Television Network, and Akashwani (All India Radio) also come under its ambit. The autonomy of this institution came into issues, to sort which a committee was set up under Sam Pitroda, which in 2014 recommended autonomy.

Note that the renowned technocrat Sam Pitroda (Satyan Gangaram Pitroda) had also headed the 2009 Committee on Modernisation of Indian Railways.

Press Council of India (PCI) – the watchdog as well as self-regulator of the print media.

The Press Council of India (PCI) is a statutory, quasi-judicial body which acts as a watchdog of the press, and also governs its conduct. The organisation is a self-regulation initiative of the Indian press, and has powers to warn or censure a journalist or a newspaper for violation of norms of journalistic conduct. It also adjudicates the complaints against and by the press for violation of ethics and for violation of the freedom of the press.

The PCI consists of a chairman (usually a retired SC judge) and 28 other members, most of whom are representations from news agencies. It is funded by revenue collected by it as fees levied on the registered newspapers in the country on the basis of their circulation, and also by grants from the government. Its establishment was first recommended by Justice Rajadhyaksha Press Commission 1954.

News Broadcasters Association of India (NBA), established in 2008, is a private association of different current affairs and news television broadcasters in India, and deals with ethical, operational, and legal issues facing the sector.

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