India’s media is among the
oldest and largest media of the world. Beginning late 18th century,
Indian media has consisted of several different forms of communications
including television, radio, newspapers, and internet-based portals. For the
majority of history, the country’s media has been free and independent. According
to Jha (2013), over the past 200 years India has adapted to new technology and
markets that are continuing to conform as instruments of advancement. The democracy
of about 1.1 billion people, have experiences a modernization transformation of
the country’s mass communication networks. History of Indian Press accounts for
not only the growth of Indian newspapers but also serves a significant prestige
in Indian history.
The evolution of newspaper
in India is tangled with the political and economic history of the country. It
has its own significance and supremacy in the history of world press. The
advent of globalization and modernization gave birth to the need of printing
press. With the invasion of westernization in the country, billions of
residents showcased their hunger for information. This was because India was
growing tremendously in all ways and it was becoming difficult for people to
reach out to all possible happenings in the country. Newspapers quenched
people’s hunger by giving more and more over the period of time.
newspaper published in an Indian language was the Samachar Darpan in Bengali on
May 23,1818. Since then, the prominent Indian languages in which
newspapers had been published over the years are Hindi, Marathi, Tamil,
Malayalam, Telugu, Urdu and Bengali. According to India Netzone Magazines Article
Newspapers in Indian, Indian Press “In
1997 the total number of newspapers and periodicals published in India was
around 41 thousand which include 4,720 dailies and 14,743 weeklies and in 2007
India consumed 99 million newspaper copies, making it the second largest market
in the world for newspapers” (p.1).
Entering post independence,
many intense debates among the fathers of our constitution, revolved around
questioning the pre censorship of newspaper. India’s society accepted freedom
of speech and expression after declared operative by the Supreme Court in 1950.
According to Iyengar (2017), “During
the reign of the British empire there were several Acts passed as stringent
curbs over the Indian Press. Prior to the rumblings of the 1857 mutiny, the
Press was fiercely involved in rallying the masses, and inevitably, the British
government was increasingly becoming apprehensive about the Press’ freedom.
Through the newspapers, a nationalistic rebellion was slowly being pieced
together through words and symbols. In view of this, the “Gagging Act” was
passed by Lord Lytton, which was driven to curtail and control the Indian
publications’ content. The Act compelled all Indian publications to apply for a
license from the government, while also ensuring that nothing was written
against the British government, nor was the government challenged in any
measure” (p. 1).
Today, the word “accountability”
is heard more often than ‘freedom’ in the context of functioning media. Many paradoxes have been expressed throughout development
of India’s media including tradition and modernity, anarchy and order,
diversity and unity, conflict and cooperation, news and views; feudalism and
democracy, and free market and monopoly. The Indian national press was backbone
of the independence struggle from colonial rule. After European Civilization in
India, the modern press began. The printing press was introduced in India by
the Portuguese. For the past 250 years, the press has showcased a position as
the fourth and strongest pillar of modern India.
Though India’s press began as a
European institution, it did not take long for native Indians to realize its
socio- political communication potential. Media’s growth origin, specifically
Print Media, is contributed to the courageous individuals who led the nation,
not the government. A wide rage of social and economic subjugation reforms
fought at the hands of foreign powers, failed to prevent the press from growing.