Points to Remember: Development of Press

The Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser, brought out in 1780 by James Augustus Hickey, is the first newspaper to be published in India.

Hicky’s Bengal Gazette

The first newspaper written in an Indian language (Samachar Darpan or Bengal gejeti) was published from Bengal.

The Censorship of Press Act, 1799 was enacted by the Governor General of Bengal Lord Wellesley. Under the act, the publisher of a newspaper was required to submit all material for pre-censorship to the Secreatary to the Government.

Raja Rammohan Roy had to cease the publication of his Mirat-ul-Akbar in 1823 following the enactment of the Press Regulations of 1823 by Governor General John Adam.

Charles Metacalfe is referred to as the “Liberator of the Indian Press“.

The Vernacular Press Act, 1878, of Lytton was termed as the “Gagging Act”. The act was repealed by Ripon in 1882.

Swadesamitra, started by G. Subrahmania Aiyar in 1882, was the first newspaper in Tamil.

Lord Curzon’s Newspapers (Incitement to Offences) Act, 1908, provided for confiscation of printing presses and property of newspapers, if they offended government interests.

Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, chairman of the 1921 Press Committee set up to review the working of press laws, was the Law Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council.

The Indian Press (Emergency provisions) Act, 1931 provided sweeping powers to the provincial governments to suppress the propaganda for the Civil Disobedience Movement.

The worst feature of the Vernacular Press Act, 1878 was that it discriminated between the English Press and the Vernacular Press and that there was no provision of an appeal against the Act.

Amrita Bazar Patrika was converted into English paper to bypass the restrictions imposed on the vernacular press under the 1878 Act. The HIndu was also published from Madras in reaction to this act.

Sanjibani, brought out by Krishna Kumar Mitra in 1883, was an organ of Sadharan Brahma Samaj.

Jnanodaya was the paper published by the Christian missionaries to carry on an aggressive attack on Hinduism.

Gopal Hari Deshmukh Lokhitavadi’s Induprakash was the mouthpiece of social reforms in the late 19th century.

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