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Law Ministry drafts bill to tame the digital beast

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Law Ministry drafts bill to tame the digital beast

The government is planning to gain an upper hand over regulators Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, (TRAI) and Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), with a new bill that is being drafted by the Ministry of Law. A source close to this development informed exchange4media this will replace TRAI and TDSAT and also look into existing press laws such as Telegraph Act, The Press And Performances Of Books Act, 1867, The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, Indian Post Office Act, 1898.

The Law Ministry is preparing a draft that will be submitted within a month in order to pass the Communication Commission bill. Sources claim that once the bill is passed, it will replace the regulators on different platforms.

The objective behind this communication bill is to deal with the biased regulation for digital media. While there are several regulations for the print media, such as 'paid news' and the Registration Act, and ad cap for television, digital media has so far been exempt from such stringent regulations and acts.

Welcoming the move, Virag Gupta, Constitutional and Cyber Law Expert, said, “The bill is required for the survival of the telecom and media industry. The new law will replace the existing one applicable to print and electronic media. In spite of the fact that TRAI mentions internet as part of telecommunication, the issues of  non-compliance have not been addressed so far.”

Some of the violations and non compliance of law by Social Media are-

Illegal agreements as E-signatures yet not notified by Government of India

Non-functional Grievance Officers as mandated in IT (Intermediary Rules)

Non-payment of Service Tax & Income Tax ( As per Finance Act)

Sharing of data with foreign intelligence agencies & privacy violation ( I. T. Act)

More than 1/3rd accounts are fake or allowed to children below 18 years. ( IPC)

FEMA and RBI violations

Postings of unlawful advertisements

Unlawful usages of data and non sharing of revenue with the Indian Industry

Tags TRAI Communication Commission Bill TDSAT The Telegraph Act

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The announcement regarding this was made on Twitter by Sukumar Ranganathan, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan Times, and Shekhar Gupta, Founder, The Print

The website promises to bring fast, reliable, insight-rich analysis in times when the readers are flooded with ‘breaking news’, and great conversations among an elite community of opinion leaders

The network has based its claim on Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) all India data (U+R) from April 2017 to March 2017 (full year average)