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Telecommunication and Media Laws in India

The unprecedented rise in usage of telecommunication has led to the evolution of set of laws which govern the telecommunication and media activities in India.

Article 19 of Indian Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech and expression. The medium used for communication of information such as internet platforms, press, telephone, mobile phone network etc. plays a vital role in determining the applicable laws that apply to it. In today’s scenario, telecommunication and internet have evolved and become interconnected in many ways.

The term ‘media’ is a wider connotation that covers various aspects such as telecommunications, advertising, broadcasting etc. The entry of private entities and service providers in the telecommunications sector warranted establishment of an independent regulator.

The various legislations which primarily govern the telecommunication and media laws in India are, including but not limited to, the following:

  1. The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885
  2. The Information Technology Act, 2000
  3. The Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933
  4. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997
  5. The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995

Telecommunication and Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

The principal body that governs the telecommunication sector in India is the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The TRAI was established in 1997 by an Act of Parliament for regulation of telecom services in the country as well as to ensure that there exists a fair and transparent system which promotes fair competition in the telecom sector. It is TRAI’s vision to provide a system which offers secure and reliable telecommunication services in a manner that helps socio-economic development in the country and to develop a telecommunication network which provides seamless coverage throughout the country in a manner that the country as a whole, and not just the more developed areas, can develop as a society with access to high quality telecom services. Hence, TRAI aids promotion and socio-economic development of citizens of India by regulation of telecom services. TRAI also issues circulars and guidelines for regulation of telecommunication services in India.

Further, other forms/ aspects of media include print industry, television industry, music industry, radio industry etc.

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