What do you know about the history of journalism? - letsdiskuss
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Owner | Posted on | Education

What do you know about the history of journalism?


B.A. (Journalism & Mass Communication) | Posted on

Journalism, by definition, means the production and distribution of reports which are related to the recent events. It involves the collection, analysis, creation, and presentation of the information and news.

Today, we have about 1 million news publications in India and the country is the second largest market for newspapers in the world, selling around 100 million copies per day. Apart from this, India has numerous news channels which are practicing the freedom of the press and influencing the Indian socio-political condition.


This contemporary situation, however, has an interesting historical background.

History-Of-Journalism-In-India-letsdiskuss (Courtesy: Doon Live)

The First Newspaper

The beginning of Indian journalism can be traced back to 1780 when James August Hickey published the first ever Indian newspaper. Known as Bengal Gazette, the newspaper used to be just 4-page long and used to publish the ideas of Raja Ram Mohan Roy. It had no political influence of anyone on it and published free-flowing ideas. The primary motive of the Bengal Gazette was to challenge British authorities and their increasing domination.

James August Hickey, who was a printer by profession, used to criticize the policies of East India Company openly in his newspaper. This resulted in his prison sentence in 1781.

This led to the formation of many publication rules by the authorities which were duly followed by all the newspapers that came after the Bengal Gazette. The two most important newspapers among them were Madras Courier and Bombay Herald. The former used to print government notifications.

The Free Press

After a while newspapers started overflowing in many regional languages, as the readership and the sentiment of nationalism among the masses increased. The most prominent paper among all at this time was Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s Mirat-Ul-Akbar which published the articles about social upliftment in Indian society. Later Roy launched the Brahminical Magazine in English which used to contradict the Christian missionary propaganda.

The Rise of Journalism

Indian journalism reached its peak in the 19th century. The most prominent newspapers of this era were Chandrika Samachar from Bengal and Bombay Samachar from Bombay, both of which came up in 1882. These newspapers published about social reforms and Bombay Samachar even gave space to commercial advertisements.

India’s first Hindi newspaper, Udant Martand was published in 1826, but soon got replaced by Jami Jahan Numa. This gave way to a lot of newspapers in Urdu, Persian, Marathi, and Bengali.

Journalism Post-1857

The mutiny of 1857 resulted in the division of British and Indian owned newspapers. The Gagging Act was introduced consequently which took away the liberties of the press. Newspapers at that time were more interested in the discussions of social issues like Sati, widow remarriage, and opposition to English education.

The Modern Phase

In the modern era came the newspapers with which we are more familiar. Bombay Standard, Bombay Times, and Telegraph combined to make the Times of India. Then there were the Pioneer, Amrita Bazaar Palika, and the Madras Mail.

Lokmanya Tilak created Kesari in 1881 whose primary aim was to oppose the British government which was much adamant in suppressing the nationalist movement and agendas.

It was then that newspapers started publishing political opinions extensively.