The Wall Porter first appeared in Venice, an Italian city in 1566. They were called Notize Secrette which meant ‘Written Notices’ and were displayed in public places and a token fee of a small coin called ‘gazette’ was levied on those who wanted to read them.
This supplied the name of the newspaper (gazette). The word has come down to us today.
Chinese discovered the art of printing in 868 AD. In 1476, the first printing press was established in England. In 16 th century newsletters came in London and Italy both. It was of 8 pages. News book were published in 1513. In 1621 a n/p appeared in London. It was a primitive news sheet called Coranto and it carried only foreign news. First domestic news came in 1628.
A new era of journalism was ushered with the publication of ‘Oxford Gazette’ in 1655. It was the first periodical to come very close to a true n/p, but it was being printed twice a week. On March 11, 1702 the first daily newspaper appeared in London ‘Daily Courant.’
James Augustus Hicky has the distinction of launching the first n/p in India called ‘Bengal Gazette’ or ‘Calcutta General Advertiser’ came out on Jan 29 1780.
Newspaper are more than 222 years old. In 1780 James Augustus Hicky started ‘Hicky’s Gazzette’
The newspaper has seen four distinct phases:-
Gap due to emergency
IV 1977-Till Now
Post Independence Press 1947- Role of Press changed slowly 1947-After partition, 6 radio stations came up in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Trichy, Lucknow and Madras 1951- The Press (Objectionable Matters) Act reminiscent of earlier laws was passed by the Nehru government 1951-52- The first national elections was covered by the regional and national press 1956- The Press Act was allowed to relapse and the first Press Commission was formed
1952-54: The Press Commission made Inquiry into the structure and functioning of Press. One of the many recommendations was for the appointment of a Press Registrar and setting up of Press Council 1964: A committee on broadcasting and information media was set up under the chairmanship of A.K Chanda
1966- Separation radio and television with two independent corporations 1967- Commercial service started called Vividh Bharati 1976- Separation of Radio and Television, TV was called Doordarshan
1977- Janata government appointed a working group 1982- Second Press Commission recommended delinking of the Press from its connections with other industries. One of the major recommendations was to set up a National Development Commission.
Press censorship under Emergency Complete censorship was imposed only on rare occasions as during Gandhiji’s arrest led to countrywide disturbances and the detention of over 60,000 persons Though some papers like the Bengali weekly Jugantar, or the daily Sandhya were banned in the thirties, they were published secretly.
Restrictions were imposed on the press during the Quit India Movement of 1942, yet major papers could publish the arrest of national leaders and reports of demonstrations and protests.
In 1975, Mrs. Indira Gandhi clamped an internal emergency. The government during this time suppressed transmission of news by imposing censorship on newspapers, journals, radio, TV, telex, telegrams, news agencies and on foreign correspondents. Even teleprinter services were subjected to pre-censorship. The censorship was total and unparalleled in the history of press in India.
Even advertisements, cartoons and comic strips were subjected to pre-censorship. Foreign papers and journals were confiscated if they carried criticism of the Emergency, some issues of Time and Newsweek were banned outright
More than 34 printing presses that were operating underground were seized and over 7000 people were arrested in connection with the publication and circulation of underground literature Underground literature flourished in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra and Gujarat
Few publications overtly opposed the emergency despite stringent measures and regulations: Sadhana (Gujarati), Himmat (edited by Rajmohan Gandhi), Freedom First (owned by M. R. Masani), The Statesman , The Indian Express , Daily Murasoli (Tamil) Tughlak (Tamil) and Radical Humanist . Post-Emergency period too was witness to attempts by the Congress Party to control the press
1984- Jagannath Mishra mooted the Bihar Press Bill but protests by journalists forced him to withdraw. 1987- Rajiv Gandhi initiated the Anti Defamation Bill also met the same fate. VN Gadgil introduced the Right to Reply Bill (1994) that was later withdrawn
Modern Times Daily newspaper circulation is approaching the 60 million mark According to the latest National Readership Survey, there were 15,67,19,209 copies of newspapers in India in 2004-05
500 million Indian adults do not read any newspaper among them 248 million literates or neo-literates
Robin Jeffrey’s on the growth of successful newspapers in a dozen Indian languages over the past quarter century has identified the following five factors :
1. Improved technology which enables the production and distribution of larger number of more attractive newspapers 2. Steadily expanding literacy 3. Expanding purchasing power 4. Aggressive publishing that is driven by profit, power and survival and seeks expansion 5. Political excitement