Do you need RNI registration for an online news portal?

  • December 21, 2021
  • Registrationwala
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Registrar of Newspaper in India issued RNI registration to those who seek to publish newspapers, periodicals, or magazines and distribute them throughout the country. As time has passed and the value of newspapers have sunk, online news portal has grown to become a more relevant source of information about the latest news. It has made people wonder if such platforms are under the same scrutiny as a newspaper or a magazine. Let's find out through this article.


What is one question that plagues most RNI registration consultants in Delhi? Let us give you a guess: it is not about the process to obtain newspaper registration in India. 

 It is about whether an online news portal must also reach out to an RNI registration agent. 


The rise of online news portals in India

Ever since mobile data became dirt-cheap and the internet became accessible, online news portals have become prominent. Riots have occurred throughout the nation because of the news these portals peddle. And in some instances, the reputations of innocent individuals have been tarnished. However, these online platforms are still going strong. Why is that the case?

  1. They are more accessible: Online news platforms like YouTube are more accessible due to the ubiquity of the internet. Another reason for their accessibility is their short formats. People find it easy to digest small snippets of use rather than a comprehensive piece of information.
  2. Anyone can start an online news channel: Online traditional news channels, online news channels don't have to work under frequency restrictions. All they need is an internet connection and access to a camera, and all they have to do is upload the recording for the whole world. 
  3. They have become more rewarding: From Google ad revenues to sponsorships, there are many options for an online news portal to generate revenue. Thus, even traditional journals are gravitating towards online platforms.

This rising relevancy and trust that the online platforms generate have made the government nervous. In response, it tried to introduce regulations to put the news platforms under scrutiny. However, nothing has come out of it yet.


Should there be RNI registration for online news portals?

After reading the reason behind the rise of online news platforms, one wonders if they should come under the government's scrutiny. However, the answer is not so simple. 

  1. There is an element to freedom of expression: The Internet exists so that people can express themselves freely. Granted that some hijack the platform to peddle hate, but some wish to deliver news in their raw form. Introducing regulatory restrictions can put a leash on their neck that they might not survive.
  2. Most regulations exist because of agenda: Say what you will, but governing guidelines in India only exist because of the ruling party's agenda. Therefore, you can't be aware of the intent of the regulations. As a result, you can't ascertain whether the guidelines exist to help you or stop you. Such ambiguity doesn't bode well for any online news platform.
  3. Lack of resources: The government doesn't have the resources to monitor every YouTube news channel in India. Although it can take assistance from Google, it would mean letting a foreign entity meddle in domestic affairs. 


Is there an RNI registration for online news portals?

No, no regulations in the RNI rulebook exist for online news portals. So, you don't need to obtain it to run your platform.

Related Content: Two-level Of RNI Registration


Although online news portals have gone ubiquitous, they don't come under any regulations. And even though it is risky, there are no guidelines within the RNI to register an online platform for news. Thus, you do not need RNI registration to run an online news portal.



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