MASS MEDIA LAW
Objectives of the course
Mass media such as press, radio and television, films, internet play a
vital role in indoctrination, socialization, culturalisation, modernization and
commoditization of a society. The visual media are bound to have a much
greater impact on conditioning of human mind and brain. But while these
media have such a potential value as man educators, they are also
susceptible to destructive and harmful uses for promoting criminal antisocial,
anti cultural, immoral and selfish escapist tendencies. In this IT age
in transnational world, information play critical role in ordering the
ideology and conceptual reconstruction.
While their positive potential as mass educators has to be harnessed
for developmental purposes, their negative, harmful potential has to be
curbed in public interest. Law plays a dual role vis a vis such media. On the
one hand, it protect the creative freedom involved in them, on the other, it
has to regulate them so as to avoid their possible abuse. In post gulf war era,
the issues of information imbalance are also the emerging threat for third
world countries especially after advent of WTO, where role of media is very
crucial from futuristic point of view. This paper will deal with such
interaction between law and mass media.
The following syllabus prepared with this perspective will be spread
over a period on one year.
1. Role of Mass Media Democratic Aspiration and
1.1 Role of Mass media in ordering, conditioning and socialization
1.1.1 Role of Mass Media for developing notion of 'Nation as a
Unit' in multicultural, multilingual, ethnic and
1.1.2 Mass Media Sustainable development and development
1.1.3 Mass Media National security; Terrorism
1.2 Role of Mass Media as 'Watchdog' of democracy
1.3 Development communication & Sustainable development
1.4 Various communication models of instruction: Authoritarian,
Liberal, Dictatorship, Comparative Study International and
1.5 Convergent media: Issues and Emerging trends, Political
Ownership of Media
1.6 Mass Media Objectives in Democracy
2. Mass Media Types of – Press, films, Radio Television .
2.1 Ownership patterns Press Private Public
2.2. Ownership patterns Film Private
2.3 Ownership patterns Radio & Television, Public
2.4 E Media – Free Flow of Information beyond boundaries and
3. Laws relating to Mass Media: Media Autonomy v
3.1 Protecting Civil Rights and Liberties – Right to Privacy, Laws
of defamation, obscenity, blasphemy and sedition.
3.1.1 Investigative Journalism & Sting operation –
Harmonizing the Social Interest and promoting
3.2 The press Council Maintaining the autonomy of Media; The
Press Council Act, 1978.
3.3. The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, The Indian
Official Secrets Act, 1923; Right to Know Emerging issues in
Scientific and Technological era.
3.4 The law relating to Mass Media employees: Wages and Service
conditions; Working Journalistic Act, 1858.
3.5 Price and Page Schedule Regulation – The Prize Competitions
4. Press – Freedom of Speech and Expression–
4.1 Whether includes freedom of the Press?
4.2 Laws of defamation, obscenity, blasphemy, yellow journalism
4.3 Newsprint Control Order
4.4 Advertisement – is included with freedom of speech and
4.4.1 Misleading Advertisement vis à vis Consumers rights
4.5 Press and the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act.
5. Films – How far included in freedom of Speech and
5.1 Censorship of films – constitutionality; The Abbas case
5.2 Difference between films and Press – why pre censorship valid
for films but not for the press?
5.3 Censorship under the Cinematography Act, 1952.
6. Radio and Television – Government monopoly
6.1 Why Government department ?
6.2 Should there be an autonomous corporation?
6.3 Effect of television of people.
6.4 Report of the Chanda Committee.
6.5 Prasar Bharti Government policy under Liberal and Private
6.6 Commercial advertisement
6.6.1 Internal Scrutiny of serials, etc
6.6.2 Judicial Review of Doordarshan decision: Freedom to
7. Constitutional Restrictions
7.1 Restrictions impose on Freedoms
7.2 Radio and television subject to law of defamation and
7.3 Government Power to legislate Article 246 read with the
7.4 Power to impost Tax licensing and licence fee.