The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting's recent invitation1 for comments on the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023,2 reflects a proactive response to the transformative shifts in the broadcasting landscape. For the past three decades, the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 has been the cornerstone of regulations governing content on linear broadcasting, mainly through cable networks. However, the dynamism of technological advancements has ushered in a new era, redefining how content is produced, distributed, and consumed.

The emergence of Direct-to-Home (DTH), Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), and Over-The-Top (OTT) services have not only expanded the reach of content but have also altered consumption patterns, allowing viewers greater flexibility in choosing when and how they engage with media. The digitisation of the broadcasting sector, particularly in cable TV, has prompted a critical reassessment of the regulatory framework governing this rapidly evolving industry. The draft Bill, therefore, seeks to replace the outdated Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 and other existing policy guidelines, recognising the need for a more contemporary and consolidated framework.

About the bill:

The Draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023 is a significant legislative proposal comprising six chapters, 48 sections, and three schedules. The bill expands its regulatory purview to cover over-the-top (OTT) content and digital news, areas currently governed by the IT Act, 2000, and its regulations.

Acknowledging the dynamic nature of the broadcasting industry, the bill introduces comprehensive definitions for modern broadcasting terms and incorporates provisions that anticipate and accommodate emerging broadcasting technologies. The bill also places a strong emphasis on strengthening the self-regulation regime. Through the introduction of 'Content Evaluation Committees3 and transforming the existing Inter-Departmental Committee into a more participative 'Broadcast Advisory Council,'4 the legislation seeks to enhance industry self-regulation. This recognises the role of industry stakeholders in shaping and adhering to ethical broadcasting standards, fostering a more collaborative and inclusive regulatory environment.

Section 3 of the Bill elaborates on the Applicability of Chapter II5:

a) Part A shall apply to (i) broadcasters referred to in section 11, (ii) cable broadcasting networks, and (iii) satellite broadcasting networks,

b) Part B shall apply to radio broadcasting networks,

c) Part C shall apply to internet broadcasting networks and

d) Part D shall apply to terrestrial broadcasting networks.

A significant feature of the draft bill is its provision for differentiated Programmes and Advertisement Codes6 across various services. This allows for a nuanced approach, recognising the diverse nature of broadcasting content and the responsibilities of different service providers. Furthermore, the bill addresses the specific needs of persons with disabilities7 by incorporating enabling provisions for issuing comprehensive accessibility guidelines.

Introducing statutory penalties8, including advisory, warning, censure, and monetary penalties, demonstrates a commitment to enforcing compliance. Notably, the bill ensures a balanced approach to regulation by reserving imprisonment and/or fines for severe offences. The bill also addresses infrastructure sharing among broadcasting network operators the carriage of platform services, and streamlines the Right of Way section9 for more efficient relocation and alterations. Establishing a structured dispute resolution mechanism further contributes to the overall effectiveness of the regulatory framework.


The Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill of 2023, therefore, signifies a crucial step in aligning regulatory frameworks with the evolving nature of the industry. It is expected to address the challenges posed by traditional cable networks and the intricacies associated with the rapidly growing digital and online platforms. The solicitation of public comments underscores the government's commitment to inclusive policy-making, ensuring that diverse perspectives and stakeholder inputs are considered in shaping the future of broadcasting regulations in the country.


  1. When is the last date to submit comments/suggestions/views? It is 09.12.2023 through email at
  2. What is meant by 'broadcasting' under the bill? The bill defines the term broadcasting under section 2(f).
  3. How will the Act affect the previously approved registrations? The bill elaborates on this through Section 41: Transitional Provision.




3. Section 24(2) of the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023.

4. Section 27 of the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023.

5. Section 3 of the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023.

6. Section 19 of the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023.

7. Section 23 of the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023.

8. Section 34 of the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023.

9. Section 38 of the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.