Maintaining that no "proper" consultations were held with stakeholders before finalising the Press and Registration of Books and Publication Act, the Indian Newspaper Society on Saturday said concerns of the industry should be addressed before the Bill is tabled in Parliament.
Clarifying its position, INS President Kundan R Vyas said that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting started working on effecting certain changes in the PRB Act in 2005 and subsequently followed it up in early 2010 and the purport of the amendments at that time was only to provide efficient and better service to the newspapers.
However, the newly named Act contain many provisions and clauses which "are impediments to the smooth functioning of the fourth estate of our democracy.
"The draft of the new Act was sent for comments to the Press Council of India at a time when members of the council were preparing to hold their last meeting during their term in office," he said in a statement here.
The members, therefore, could not devote time to discuss the issue and they clearly indicated to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that the new council when constituted some time in February 2011, will take up this issue for discussion and send their detailed comments and suggestions, he added.
Vyas said that the INS after studying the new Act now cleared by the Union Cabinet, will shortly send its suggestions and comments to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. He urged the Minister to await INS response and address concerns of the industry before placing the Bill in the Parliament.
The I and B Ministry had yesterday said it has consulted all stakeholders, including Indian Newspaper Society (INS), and incorporated their suggestions before the Union Cabinet cleared a bill on registration of books and publications.