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Media & Entertainment Laws in India

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Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995

The object of the Cable Act, 1995 as indicated in the preamble is to regulate the operation of cable television networks in the country and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Prasar Bharati Act, 1990

Prasar Bharati has been established as a Corporation to discharge the functions of erstwhile Akashvani and Doordarshan. Under Section 12 of the Prasar Bharati Act, the
primary duty of the Corporation is to organize and conduct public broadcasting services to inform, educate and entertain the public and to ensure a balanced development of broadcasting on radio and television.

Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007

Sports Act, 2007 which is a later enactment had altogether a different object for its enactment, namely, to provide access to the largest number of listeners and viewers, on a free to air basis, of sporting events of national importance through mandatory sharing of sports broadcasting signals with Prasar Bharati and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Section 3 of the Sports Act, 2007 is a significant provision to further the objective behind the enactment of the Sports Act, 2007

 Drafting a Media document

Media Rights Agreement

Media regulation in India is not unified and has a multiplicity of regulatory bodies. Further, there are issues surrounding the enforceability of decisions of such bodies. An independent broadcasting media authority along the lines of TRAI was first suggested by the Supreme Court in Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting v. Cricket Association of Bengal. In Indraprastha People v. Union of India, the Delhi High Court recommended that an independent statutory body be set up under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act

Broadcasting sector is regulated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which notifies rules from time to time on matters such as streamlining of the distribution of television channels to platform operators. Additionally, the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre established by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting monitors the content of all TV channels uplinking and downlinking in India to check the violation of the Programme and Advertisement Code. It also monitors the content of Private FM Radio Channels.

Self-regulation of content in the broadcast media is conducted through a two-tier mechanism of self-regulation by individual broadcasters as well as industry level regulatory bodies. Regulation of content is divided into news and non-news sectors. For the non-news sector, industry level regulation is enforced by the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) within the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) that oversees channels other than the news and current affairs channels. The BCCC is an independent council comprising a thirteen member body consisting of a Chairperson who is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court and 12 other members including broadcaster and eminent non-broadcaster members.

The self-regulatory body for news and current affairs channels is the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) which has set up the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) to adjudicate complaints in relation to broadcast content on news channels.

With respect to elections, Section 127A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 makes it mandatory for the publisher of an election advertisement, pamphlet or other documents to print the name and address of the publisher as well as the printer. However, the paid news is not expressly defined or included as an electoral offence.

Media ownership issues have been raised repeatedly by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, among others. The call has been for the introduction of regulations in this area, but no such steps have yet been taken. Media in India is owned both by the government as well as the private sectors. Prasar Bharati is India’s public broadcaster.

Media Trial has been dealt by  Supreme Court in Sahara India Real Estate Corporation v. Securities and Exchange Board of India(2012) 10 SCC 603, gave judges the power to order postponement of publication on a case-by-case basis, the test being, ‘where there is a real and substantial risk of prejudice to fairness of the trial or to proper administration of justice.

Defamation Issues need to be addressed, civil defamation is dealt with under the law of torts whereas criminal defamation is an offence under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code. A journalist has no special protection under defamation laws in India. Although the press enjoys the freedom of speech and expression under Art. 19(1)(a) of the Constitution with a reasonable restriction to this freedom under Art. 19(2). The law of contempt is one of the grounds for reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) to the freedom of speech and expression. While civil contempt refers to the wilful disobedience to any judgment, or order of a court, criminal contempt is an offence under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, and is punishable by imprisonment of up to six months. In the UK, scandalizing the Court has ceased to be an offence, a change brought in by the Crime and Courts Act 2013In the USA, the offence of scandalizing the court is unknown and courts initiate action for contempt only when they determine that there is ‘clear and present danger’ to the administration of justice.

 Under the Information Technology Act 2000,  Cyber Appellate Tribunal is empowered to deal with complaints under the Act but is largely confined to cases of fraud and hacking.

Cinema Industry

The Regulator

The Central Board of Flim Certification

Television Industry

Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act 1995

The Act brought into force the Programme Code and the Advertising Code, which prohibits the transmission of any programme or advertisement not in compliance with the code. There is no regulatory authority set up under the Act. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, for example, has issued Policy Guidelines for Uplinking of Television Channels from India, the latest in 2011, which include mandatory compliance of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act 1995.

Print Media

Press Council of India (PCI)

Print media in India is governed by The Press Council Act, 1978 that establishes the Press Council of India (PCI). The Council comprises a Chairman and 28 other members. The Chairman is to be nominated by a Committee constituting of the Chairman of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), the Speaker of the House of the People (Lok Sabha) and a person elected by the members of the Council.



  1. Ministry Of Information and Broadcasting Of India

REGULATION BY NEWS BROADCASTING AUTHORITY (News Broadcasting Standards Authority is an independent body set up by the News Broadcasters Association. Its task is to consider and adjudicate upon complaints about broadcasts.)


1.MEDIA GUIDELINES (Election Commission of India)


Reserve Bank of India Guidelines for Cyber Security

Pakistani Media Laws   

British Media Laws

Broadcasting Act 1990.

An Act to make new provision with respect to the provision and regulation of independent television and sound programme services and of other services provided on television or radio frequencies; to make provision with respect to the provision and regulation of local delivery services; to amend in other respects the law relating to broadcasting and the provision of television and sound programme services and to make provision with respect to the supply and use of information about programmes; to make provision with respect to the transfer of the property, rights and liabilities of the Independent Broadcasting Authority and the Cable Authority and the dissolution of those bodies; to make new provision relating to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission; to provide for the establishment and functions of a Broadcasting Standards Council; to amend the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1949 to 1967 and the Marine, &c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967; to revoke a class licence granted under the Telecommunications Act 1984 to run broadcast relay systems; and for connected purposes.  

Supreme Court Cases


Under Section 3 of the Sports Act, 2007 the live feed received by Prasar Bharati from content rights owners or holders is only for the purpose of re-transmission of the said signals on its own terrestrial and DTH networks and not to Cable Operators so as to enable the Cable TV operators to reach such consumers who have already subscribed to a cable network

Board of Control for Cricket in India Vs. Cricket Association of Bihar & Ors [January 02, 2017]

Direction issued by the Supreme Court on BCCI management

Delhi High Court Direction on Sting Operation in Court On Its Own Motion vs State  14 December 2007  Equivalent citations: 146 (2008) DLT 42





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