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Report No. 255

F. Constitutional Issues: Article 19(1)(a) and Article 19(2)

7.34. This Part proposes a two-pronged approach to tackling paid news and political advertising. First, it suggests a prohibition on paid news by creating a penal provision and second, it suggests mandatory disclosures for political advertisements. The possible constitutional issues are discussed below.

7.35. Three questions need to be asked in order to ascertain if Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression is violated:

(i) Whether paid news and political advertising are protected under Article 19(1)(a)?

(ii) Whether the restriction is in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence?

(iii) Whether the restriction imposed is reasonable?

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