History of Press In 1787 Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, wrote, "...were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
Rome had a particularly sophisticated system for circulating written news, centered on the acta -- daily handwritten news sheets, which were posted by the government in the Roman Forum from the year 59 B.C. to at least A.D. 222 and which were filled with news of such subjects as political happenings, trials, scandals, military campaigns and executions.
China, too, had early government-produced news sheets, called the tipao , which were first circulated among officials during the Han dynasty (202 B.C. to A.D. 221) and were printed at some point during the T'ang dynasty (618 to 906).
The printing press was used to disseminate news in Europe shortly after Johann Gutenberg invented the letter press, employing movable type, in the 1450s. One of the first printed works that might qualify as news was an Italian account of a tournament printed in about 1470.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thousands of printed news books, short pamphlets reporting on a news event, and news ballads, accounts of news events written in verse and usually printed on one side of a single sheet of paper, circulated in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in the new European colonies in America.
The first news report printed in the America described an earthquake in Guatemala and was printed in Mexico in 1541.
The Origins of Newspapers The history of newspapers is an often-dramatic chapter of the human experience going back some five centuries.
In Renaissance Europe handwritten newsletters circulated privately among merchants, passing along information about everything from wars and economic conditions to social customs and "human interest" features. The first printed forerunners of the newspaper appeared in Germany in the late 1400's in the form of news pamphlets or broadsides, often highly sensationalized in content.
The first newspaper printed in England appeared in 1621. France produced it in 1631. 1780 ???
Chronological History of Indian Press Indian Press –more than 200 years old
1674- First Printing Press was established in Bombay 1772- Established in Madras 1779- Established in Calcutta 1776- First newspaper meant for publication was announced by William Bolts 1780- Dissemination of newsletters inspired James Augustus Hicky to start his newspaper Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser on January 29.
Other weeklies and monthly newspapers which started in 19 th century in Bengal were Dig Darshan, Samachar Darpan, Friend of India. 1781- Hicky was arrested and thrown into jail. He continued writing from there till the types used for printing were seized 1799- British government issued press regulations making the publication of the name of the printer, editor and proprietor obligatory
1822- The Bombay Samachar , a Gujarati newspaper appeared 1830- Mombai Vartman appeared 1831- Jan-e-Samshad appeared 1839- The Bengali Press with nine newspapers had a circulation of 200 copies each
1850- Bombay Darpan began publication 1857-Press restrictions were brought back. The Gagging Act ( compulsory licensing & ban )was introduced 1876- Vernacular Press Act was promulgated 1878- G. Subramania Aiyer founded The Hindu as a weekly in Madras on September 20 1878- Lord Lytton imposed the Vernacular Press Act for controlling the Press 1878- He instituted the post of Press Commissioner 1910-Indian Press Act clamped further controls on newspapers in the wake of partition of Bengal
1850- Bombay Darpan began publication 1857-Press restrictions were brought back. The Gagging Act was introduced 1876- Vernacular Press Act was promulgated 1878- G. Subramania Aiyer founded The Hindu as a weekly in Madras on September 20 1878- Lord Lytton imposed the Vernacular Press Act for controlling the Press 1878- He instituted the post of Press Commissioner 1910-Indian Press Act clamped further controls on newspapers in the wake of partition of Bengal
1931- Free Press of India began as a news agency, started Indian Express and Dinamani in Madras 1930- Government took over the Bombay and Calcutta station 1938- BBC loaned the services of Lionel Fielden who became the Controller of Broadcasting and started a short wave service
1938-Press supported the stand of the British government initially, but soon conflict arose on reporting the war news in newspapers 1939-All India Newspapers Editors Conference came into being
A History of Indian Journalism "The over-200-year history of the Indian press, from the time of Hicky to the present day, is the history of a struggle for freedom, which has not yet ended. There have been alternating periods of freedom and of restrictions on freedom amounting to repression.
Hicky's Gazette : It was not until James Augustus Hicky dared to start his Bengal Gazette (also called Hickys Gazette) in 1780 that the age of Journalism dawned in the country.
He described the Bengal Gazette (later called Hicky’s Gazette) as a 'weekly political and commercial paper open to all parties but influenced by none'. His venom was aimed at individuals like Mrs. Warren Hastings and their private affairs. He published announcements of marriages and engagements, and of 'likely' engagements! The Gazette was, in essence, no better than a scandal sheet.
Barely a year later, Sir Warren Hastings denied all postal facilities to Hicky who hit back with these ringing words: 'Mr. Hicky considers the Liberty of the Press to be essential to the very existence of an Englishman and a free Government. The subject should have full liberty to declare his principles and opinions, and every act which tends to coerce that liberty is tyrannical and injurious to the community'.
In June the following year (1781), Hicky was arrested and thrust into jail, from where he continued writing for the Gazette. He was stopped from 'bringing out his weekly only when the types used for printing were seized'.
Five newspapers made their appearance in Bengal in six years' time -all started by English men. Some of these newspapers received government patronage. The Madras Courier and the Bombay Herald (which later merged with the Bombay Courier) were then launched in the two cities. They were subservient to the government, and therefore flourished. The total circulation of all these weeklies was not more than 2,000; yet, the government issued Press Regulations, (1799) making the publication of the name of the printer, editor and proprietor obligatory.
Regional Press The pioneers of Indian language journalism were the Serampore Missionaries with Samachar Darpan and other Bengali periodicals, and Raja Ram Mohan Roy with his Persian newspaper Miratool
It was almost a decade before daily vernacular papers like Vartaman (1830), the Jan-e-Jamshed (1831), and the in the South, a Tamil and in the North West Provinces, a Hindi and an Urdu newspaper began. The Sepoy Mutiny (1857) brought back the press restrictions in the form of the Gagging Act. Lord Canning argued to lift the press restrictions.
The main topics of discussion in the English and vernacular press before and after the Mutiny were sati, caste, widow remarriage, polygamy, crimes, and opposition to the teaching of English in schools and colleges. Bombay's Gujarati press, in particular, excelled in the defence of the Indian way of life.
In 1876, the Vernacular Press Act was promulgated. During the next two decades the Times of India (1838) , The Pioneer , the Madras Mail , and Amrit Bazar Patrika came into existence -all except the last edited by Englishmen, and serving the interests of English educated readers. The English press played down the inaugural meeting of the Indian National Congress on December 28, 1885 in Bombay, but was reported at length by the vernacular papers such as Kesari (founded by Lokmanya Tilak).
The Amrit Bazar Patrika and Kesari soon gained a reputation for opposing government attempts to suppress nationalist aspirations. The Amrit Bazar Patrika , for instance, denounced the deposition of the Maharaja of Kashmir, and Kesari was foremost in attacking the Age of Consent Bill of 1891, which sought to prohibit the consummation of marriage before a bride completed the age of 12. The Kesar:i's stand was endorsed by the Amrit Bazar Patrika and Bangabasi of Calcutta on the ground that the government had no right to interfere with traditional Hindu customs.
Tilak charged the government with disrespect for the liberty and privacy of the Indian people, and with negligence in providing relief during the countrywide famine in 1896- 97, which resulted in the death of over a million people.
Such savage anti-government sentiments could not be allowed free play and so Lord Elgin added sections to the Indian Penal Code to, enable the government to deal with promotion of' disaffection' against the Crown, or of enmity and hatred between different classes. Also prohibited was 'the circulation of any reports with intent to cause mutiny among British troops, intent to cause such fear or alarm among the public as to cause any person to commit an offence against the State, or intent to incite any class or community to commit offences against any other class or community.
The penalties for offences ranged from life imprisonment to short imprisonment or fines. The man who became the most noteworthy victim of these new laws was none other than Bal Gangadhar Tilak, editor of Kesari and its English companion, Mahratha . He was arrested, convicted and jailed for six years, but Kesar i continued to build up its reputation and influence as a national daily, as India woke to the 20th century.
Other champions of press freedom who were prosecuted at about the same time were Aurobindo Ghose of Bande Mataram , H.H. Upadhayaya of Sandhya , and H.N. Dutt of Jugantar . The vernacular press suffered rigorous restrictions under the British rule. The Rowlatt Act (imprison without trial) was promulgated and imprisonments were covered by the vernacular press whose readership was unparalleled.
Journalism in India had come to stay and progress. The people, including the administration and Hastings had come to realise the power and influence of the pen through the Press. A crop of newspapers erupted. The Bengal Journal, the Oriental Magazine and the Calcutta Chronicle started publication from Calcutta. The Madras Courier, the Harkaru, the Madras Gazette, the Bombay Herald and the Bombay Gazette made their debut from Chennai and Mumbai, respectively. Gradually censorship and Government’s repression followed.
Although the first printing press was imported into Bombay as early as 1670 by the Parsi businessman Bhimjee Parikh, it was more than a hundred years before the first newspaper was printed. The first English newspaper in Bombay was printed by Rustomji Keshaspathi.
The first vernacular newspaper in Bombay was the Gujarati daily Mumbai Samachar , published in 1822 by Fardoonjee Marzban. Although not the first newspaper in an Indian language (that distinction was held by the Bengali newspaper Sangbad Kaumudi , published from Calcutta) Mumbai Samachar is still being published, and is India's oldest newspaper. The first Marathi daily Dig-Dursan appeared in 1837, and the first Hindu-Gujarati newspaper, Vartaman in 1849 (in Ahmedabad).
In 1878 the Government of India passed the Censorship Act. Protests from the press had no effect. Four years later, in 1882, the newspaper Kaiser-i-Hind was founded by Framjee Cowasji Mehta. This became a platform for the fledgling Congress from its inception in 1885. The leading British newspaper of this time was the Times of India .