CA Rajkumar S. Adukia

“One of the objects of a newspaper is to understand the popular feeling and give expression to it, another is to arouse among the people certain desirable sentiments, and the third is the fearlessness to expose popular defects.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Communication is the procedure, which we use to exchange information by various methods and media is the medium or instrument of storing or communicating information. ‘Media’ the popular term inter-alia used as ‘Press’ denotes the print & electronic information carriers –the News Papers & Magazines, Radio, Television and currently includes Internet as new Media. Hailed as the ‘Fourth Estate’, media is the watchdog of the public affairs, informing the society and vice versa, acts as the forum to advocate the views of the society at large to those at the helm of public affairs.

The word medium comes from the Latin word medius (middle). The word communication is derived from the Latin root communicate.

Media law covers an area of law which involves media of all types (TV, film, music, publishing, advertising, internet & new media, etc.), and stretches over various legal fields, including but not limited to corporate, finance, intellectual property, publicity and privacy.

Media law is a legal field that refers to the following:

• Advertising

• Broadcasting

• Censorship

• Confidentiality

• Contempt

• Copyright

• Corporate law

• Defamation

• Entertainment

• Freedom of information

• Internet

• Information technology

• Privacy

• Telecommunications


There are many laws that regulate the performance of media in India. Laws related to the mass media have been there since the very beginning. In the time of the British Raj, many laws related to the Press were enacted. In the post-Independence time, the various Governments have enacted many more media related laws.

Media being a very powerful influence on the society is regulated and controlled by various legislations enacted from time to time.

Constitutional Provisions

The Indian Constitution does not provide freedom for media separately. But there is an indirect provision for media freedom. It gets derived from Article 19(1) (a). This Article guarantees freedom of speech and expression. The freedom of mass media is derived indirectly from this Article. Article 19 of our Constitution deals with the right to freedom and it enumerates certain rights regarding individual freedom of speech and expression etc. These provisions are important and vital, which lie at the very root of liberty.

Article 19 of the Indian constitution lays down –

“All citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, to assemble peaceably, and without arms, to form associations or unions, to move freely throughout the territory of India, to reside in any part of the territory of India, to acquire hold and dispose of property and to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

However the right to freedom of speech and expression shall not affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the state from making any law insofar as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of that right in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public decency or morality or In relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to offence”.

List of Acts and Rules applicable to the media industry –

1. The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867

2. Registration of Newspapers (Central) Rules, 1956

3. The Press and Registration Appellate Board (Practice and Procedure) 1961

4. The Press Council Act, 1978

5. The Press Council Rules, 1979

6. The Press Council (Procedure for Nomination of Members) Rules, 1978

7. The Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) (Amendment) Regulations, 2006

8. The Press Council (Procedure for Conduct of Meetings and Business) Regulations, 1979

9. The Press Council of India (Grant of Certified Copies) Regulations, 1999

10. The Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955

11. The Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Rules, 1957

12. The Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees Tribunal Rules, 13. The Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958

14. The Newspaper (Prices and Pages) Act, 1956

15. The Delivery of Books and Newspapers (Public Libraries) Act, 1954

16. The Right to Information Act, 2005

17. The Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005

18. The Central Information Commission (Appeal Procedure) Rules, 2005

19. The Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations, 2007

20. The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954

21. The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Rules, 1955

22. The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950

23. The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Rules, 1982

24. State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005

25. State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules, 2007

26. The Parliamentary Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Act, 1977

27. The Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act, 1956

28. The Punjab Special Powers (Press) Act, 1956 (Relevant Provisions)

29. Copyright Act, 1957

30. The Dramatic Performances Act, 1876 (Relevant Provisions)

31. The Cinematograph Act, 1952

32. The Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983

33. The Cine-workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1981

34. The Cine-Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Rules, 1984

35. The Cine-Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1981

36. The Cine-workers Welfare Cess Rules, 1984

37. The Cine-Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981

38. The Cine-Workers Welfare Fund Rules, 1984

39. The Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India ) Act, 1990

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

41. The Sports Broadcast Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Rules, 2007

42. The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995

43. The Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994

44. The Radio, Television and Video Cassette Recorder Sets (Exemption from

Licensing Requirements) Rules, 1997

45. The Standards of Quality of Service (Broadcasting and Cable services) (Cable

Television – CAS Areas) Regulation, 2006

46. The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (Relevant Provisions)

47. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997

48. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Miscellaneous) Rules, 1999

49. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Period for Filing of Application to Authority) Rules, 1999

50. The Telecommunication Interconnection (Port Charges) Regulation, 2001

51. The TRAI (Levy of Fees and Other Charges for Tariff Plans) Regulations, 2002

52. The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Form, Verification and the Fee for Filing an Appeal) Rules, 2003

53. The Telecommunication Interconnection (Charges and Revenue Sharing) Regulation, 2001

54. The Telecommunication Interconnection Usage Charges Regulation, 2003

55. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Salaries, Allowances and Other Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Whole-time Members) Rules, 2000

56. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Procedure for Conducting Inquiry Against a Member) Rules, 1999

57. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Annual Report and Returns) Rules, 1999

58. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Form of Annual Statement of Accounts and Records) Rules, 1999

59. The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulations, 2004

60. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Access to Information) Regulations, 2005

61. The Common Charter of Telecom Services, 2005

62. The Regulation on Quality of Service of Basic and Cellular Mobile Telephone Services, 2005

63. Quality of Service (Code of Practice for Metering and Billing Accuracy) Regulation, 2006

64. The Standards of Quality of Service (Broadcasting and Cable Services) (Cable Television – CAS Areas) Regulation, 2006

65. The Quality of Service of Broadband Service Regulations, 2006

66. The Telecom Consumers Protection and Redressal of Grievances Regulations, 2007

67. The Telecom Unsolicited Commercial Communications Regulations, 2007

68. The International Telecommunication Access to Essential Facilities at Cable Landing Stations Regulations, 2007

69. The Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund Regulations, 2007

70. The Direct to Home Broadcasting Services (Standards of Quality of Service and Redressal of Grievances) Regulations, 2007

71. Domestic Leased Circuits Regulations, 2007

72. The Register of Interconnect Agreements Regulations, 1999

73. The Indian Post Office Act, 1898 (Relevant Provisions)

74. The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Relevant Provisions)

75. The Information Technology (Certifying Authorities) Rules, 2000

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One response to “Media Law of India – An Overview”

  1. amit says:

    good morning,
    plz send me the legal right against the media if they harm the fame of reputed person , what can be claim and right against the same . i will be very thankful for the same

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