What is Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI)?
Established on 1st July 1956, Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI), also at times known as Office of the Registrar of the Newspapers for India is a Government of India statutory body of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Headquartered in New Delhi, RNI has got its five regional offices based at Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bhopal and Guwahati. Governed by the Press and Registration of Books Act, which states that no newspaper or periodical should carry a heading similar to any other newspaper or periodical already published either in same or any other language, unless it is governed by the same person or organization, RNI has to perform certain set of duties and functions such as:
Statutory duties of the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI)
- Issuing of Certificate of Registration to the newspapers published under valid declaration;
- Providing information to the district magistrates regarding availability of titles to the intending publishers;
- To ensure that the newspapers are published as per the guidelines of PRB Act 1867;
- To compile and maintain a Register of Newspapers containing particular s about all the newspapers published;
- To analyze and scrutinize information and annual statements shared by all the publishers regarding information on circulation, ownership etc. This is done as per PRB Act.
- Verification of circulation claims produced by the publishers as a part of their annual claim; same is done under Section 19-F of PRB Act;
- Compilation and submission of a report with all relevant information and statistics about the press in India to the Government on or before 31st December every year.
Apart from the above mentioned statutory duties of the RNI, the Press and Registration of Books Act also lists down certain non-statutory functions of the RNI.
Non-Statutory functions of the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI)
- Formulation of newsprint allocation policy – guidelines and issue of eligibility certificate in order to import newsprint and to procure indigenous newsprint;
- To assess and certify the essential need and requirement of newspaper establishments in order to import printing and composing machinery and allied materials.
It is a given fact that the newspaper industry is growing at a remarkable pace and where on one side, we all are struck by social media, on the other side there is hardly any house where morning tea is not enjoyed with the newspaper and if I have to quote Arun Jaitley (Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs) : “Newspapers provide more clarity to readers who are confused and are in search of facts after viewing “shrill debates” on TV channel and if statistics have to be believed then newspaper industry saw a rise of advertising revenue by 40% in the year 2014-15.
Indian government has always encouraged growth and promotion of newspaper industry irrespective of the party which is in power and just provides you an opportunity to start your newspaper or periodical if you wish to, however in order to do so, you would need to abide by certain sets of legal compliance from Registrar of Newspapers of India so in nutshell, if anybody who is willing to start a newspaper or magazine or journals etc will have to acquire prior approval of RNI.
As of 31st March 2016, there are approximately 1,10,851 publications which are registered with RNI of India and that makes India as the second largest newspaper market in the world with over 100 million copies of newspapers sold on a daily basis where hindi language publications having the largest circulation. Famous daily newspapers like Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala have a daily circulation of above 3,000,000 whereas their English counterparts like Times of India, The Hindustan Times have a daily circulation of approx 3,140,000.
How To Get Registered With RNI?
As per the guidelines of the Press and Registration of Books Act, registration with RNI involves two steps, i.e.
- Verification of title
- Registration of title
Verification of title
Once you have decided on a title for your proposed newspaper, you need to get the same verified by the RNI office in order to check if the same has already been taken or proposed by someone else or if your desired title falls under prohibited list of titles i.e. as per the Act, you cannot use or propose below mentioned titles for your proposed newspaper:
- Abbreviation of words
- Religious overtones
- Obscene or offending to public sense
- Negative connotations or symbols
- Absurd or meaningless words
- Name of prominent national leaders
- Name same or similar to any national emblem
- Any other name which may not be in public interest/taste
- Heads of the government functionary.
Registration of title
If you want to start your own newspaper then you have to register with the RNI of India because you cannot start a newspaper without getting its title i.e. name of the proposed newspaper or periodical, checked and verified from the RNI of India either online or offline.
In order to get the verification done, you need to follow below mentioned steps, such as: