Search this article on Google: What are the key legal provisions and regulations governing Media and Entertainment industry in India?
The Media and Entertainment (M&E) sector in India is a rapidly growing industry, with a surge in digital platforms, increasing globalisation, and evolving customer preferences. However, navigating the legal landscape of the M&E industry is equally challenging. The sector is regulated by an elaborate framework of legislations and regulatory authorities. This article, compiled by legal experts at SimranLaw, aims at shedding light on the key legal provisions and regulations governing the M&E industry in India whilst providing insights from years of national experience.
1. Legal Framework
India’s constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and expression, which forms the crux of the media industry. However, it is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2). The M&E industry’s regulatory framework primarily comprises the Indian Penal Code 1860, the Information Technology Act 2000, and various other legislations specific to various types of media.
2. Print Media
The Indian Press Council Act 1978 and The Registration of Books Act 1867 govern print media content. The Indian Press Council Act establishes a Press Council to maintain press standards and regulate the press’s freedom. On the other hand, The Registration of Books Act necessitates the registration of all printed materials with the Registrar of Newspapers.
3.Broadcast Media & Films
The Cinematograph Act 1952 regulates the film industry. As per this act, all films need to be certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) before release. The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 and its rules regulate cable network operations, advertisement codes and programme codes.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regulates satellite broadcasting issues via Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Act, 2011.
One landmark case related to this was Union of India vs. Cricket Association of Bengal, where the Supreme Court held that airwaves or frequencies are public property, and their use has to be controlled and regulated by a public authority in the public interest.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory organisation, governs advertising content. It has established a code for self-regulation in advertising, ensuring protection against offensive material, deceptive practices and unfair competition.
5. Digital Media
The Information Technology Act 2000 primarily governs India’s digital media. With the advent of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, the M&E industry is witnessing a digital revolution. However, this also necessitates additional regulations. In November 2020, the Government of India brought OTT platforms under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to regulate their content.
The case of Shreya Singhal vs Union of India was key in this area as the Supreme Court struck down Section 66A of the IT Act for being unconstitutional, emphasizing the importance of freedom of speech in digital media.
6. Copyright Laws
The Copyright Act 1957 and subsequent amendments protect original artistic works, cinematograph films, and sound recordings. In the landmark case, Star India Pvt Ltd vs Leo Burnett (India) Pvt Ltd, the court reinforced copyright protections for original creations.
7. Privacy Laws
The recent Puttaswamy judgement redefined privacy standards in India, having significant implications for the M&E sector. Media houses have to respect individuals’ privacy rights while reporting or publishing any content.
In conclusion, while India’s M&E sector is thriving with its numerous opportunities, it is equally riddled with various legal complexities. The need is for judicious creativity within the legal framework to respect individuals’ rights and societal norms. Understanding and navigating these complexities can be challenging without professional help. At SimranLaw, we are committed to providing you with expert guidance and assistance to manage these legal challenges effectively.