THE ROLE OF NEWSPAPER
INDIAN FREEDOM STRUGGLE
2nd MA Mass communication
▪ The Indian language press has played a historic and memorable
role in the struggle for independent movement.
▪ Newspapers made Indian public aware of cruelties of British
▪ Patriotic poems, songs and article published in newspaper made
British government restless.
▪ Through newspapers Indian people kept themselves informed of
all the activities going on in the country. Literature published in
various newspapers was a challenge for British govt. So much of
the literature was banned by British.
▪ It is rightly said that pen is mightier than sword.
▪ The introduction of printing press in India was an event of
revolutionary significance in the life of Indian people.
▪ The awakening and growth of national consciousness among
them gave rise to the nationalist press.
▪ Indian press began to spread its roots in the 1870s. During
1870 to 1918 powerful newspapers emerged during these
years under distinguished and fearless journalists.
▪ James Augustus Hickey made the history by starting the Bengal
Gazette on Calcutta General Advisor.
▪ The first newspaper was published in India on Jan 29, 1780.
▪ Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the founder of the nationalist press in
▪ His Sambad- Kaumudi in Bengali published in 1821, and Mirat- Ul-
Akbar in Persian published in 1822, were the first publication in
with a distinct nationalist and democratic progressive orientation.
▪ The Press was the chief instrument for carrying out the main
political tasks, political propaganda, education, and formation
and propagation of nationalist ideology to arouse, train, mobilize
and consolidate nationalist public opinion.
▪ Both the English and Vernacular press started by prominent
Indian leaders acted as catalysts to the freedom struggle.
▪ With the enactment of the Indian Council Act of 1861, both Indian
and non-Indian Press expanded.
▪ The Times of India which supported the policy of the British
Government in India was founded in Bombay in 1861.
▪ The Pioneer which supported the landowning and mercantile
interests was in Allahabad in 1865.
▪ The Madras Mail which represented the interests of the European
commercial community was founded in 1868.
▪ The Statesman which criticized the government as well as the
nationalist groups was founded in Calcutta in 1875.
▪ The Civil and Military Gazette which was distinctly an organ of
conservative opinion was founded in Lahore in 1878.
▪ Since the Press was a powerful weapon of the nationalist
struggles, the Indian nationalists staunchly fought for its freedom
throughout the Indian nationalist movement.
▪ In fact, many of the tallest leaders of the freedom movement
themselves turned journalists too, and used the press to propagate
their ideas to the masses.
▪ The Vernacular Press Act of 1878, against Indian language
newspapers, was passed at a single sitting of the Imperial
▪ The Act ordered the confiscation of the printing press, paper and
other materials of a newspaper if the government believed that it
was publishing instigative materials and had flouted any warning
from the government.
▪ Nationalist public bodies and the Press campaigned against this
Act. Eventually, it had to be repealed in 1881 by Lord Ripon.
▪ Till 1908, the Indian Press enjoyed considerable freedom.
▪ However, due to the phenomenal growth of the nationalist
movement , the Newspaper Act was passed in 1908 and the
Indian Press Act in 1910
▪ The Indian Press enjoyed relative freedom till 1930. However,
the Press Law of 1932 and Foreign Relations Act of 1932
diminished the freedom of the Indian Press.
▪ The Press was an effective weapons in the hands of social reform
groups to expose social evils such as caste fetters, child
marriage, ban on remarriage of widows, social, legal and other
inequalities from which women suffered and others.
▪ It also helped them to organize propaganda against such
inhuman institutions as untouchability.
▪ It became a weapon in their hands to proclaim to the masses,
principles, programmes, and methods of democratic
reconstruction of the Indian society.
▪ Such was the role of the Press in the building up of an
increasingly strong national sentiment and consciousness
among the Indian people.
▪ In the development and consolidation of their growing
nationalist movement, in the creation of national and provincial
literatures and cultures, and in the forging of bonds of fraternity
with other progressive peoples and classes in the outer worlds
they sacrificed themselves.