Mass media in India
The National and the English press; Bofors and Tehelka; The Hindu and Indian Express ; Times of India and The Statesman; India Today and Outlook; Pothan Joseph and G Kasturi; N Ram and Vinod Mehta; The Hoot and IndianOnlineJournalism.Org are not contrasts but a sampling of the range that needs to be covered here.
J. Natarajan's History of Indian Journalism, Part II of the Report of the Press Commission is an excellent source. It is used as a source here.
William Bolts, an ex-employee of the British East India Company attempted to start the first newspaper in India way back in 1776. Bolts had to beat a retreat under the disapproving gaze of the Court of Directors of the Company. The Bengal Gazette by James Augustus Hicky was started in 1780. The Gazette, a two-sheet newspaper, "specialised" in writing on the private lives of the Sahibs of the Company. He dared even to mount "scurrillious attacks" on the Governor-General Warren Hastings' wife, which soon landed "the late printer to the Honourable Company" in trouble.
Hicky landed himself a 4 months jail term and Rs.500 fine, which did not deter him. After a bitter attack on the Governor-General and the Chief Justice, Hicky was sentenced to one year in prison and fined Rs.5,000, which finally drove him to penury. These are the first tentative steps of journalism in India.
B.Messink and Peter Reed were plaint publishers of the India Gazette, unlike their infamous predecessor. The colonial establishment started the Calcutta Gazette. It was followed by another private initiative the Bengal Journal. The Oriental Magazine of Calcutta Amusement, a monthly magazine made it four weekly newspapers and one monthly magazine published from Calcutta, now Kolkata.
Madras, now Chennai: The Madras Courier was started in 1785 in the southern stronghold of Madras, which is called Chennai now. Richard Johnson, its founder, was a government printer. Madras got its second newspaper when, in 1791, Hugh Boyd, who was the editor of the Courier quit and founded the Hurkaru. Tragically for the paper, Boyd passed away within a year of its founding - it ceased publication too.
It was only in 1795 that competitors to the Courier emerged with the founding of the Madras Gazette followed by the India Herald. The latter was an "unauthorised" publication, which led to the deportation of its founder Humphreys. The Madras Courier was designated the purveyor of official information in the Presidency.
Bombay, now Mumbai: Bombay, surprisingly was a late starter - the Bombay Herald came into existence in 1789. Significantly, a year later a paper called the Courier started carrying advertisements in Gujarati.
The first media merger of sorts: The Bombay Gazette, which was started in 1791, merged with the Bombay Herald the following year. Like the Madras Courier, this new entity was recognised as the publication to carry "official notifications and advertisements".
'A Chronicle of Media and the State', by Jeebesh Bagchi in the Sarai Reader 2001 is a handy timeline on the role of the state in the development of media in India for more than a century.
Bagchi divides the timeline into three 'ages'. The Age of Formulation, which starts with the Indian Telegraph Act in 1885 and ends with the Report of the Sub-Committee on Communication, National Planning Committee in 1948. The Age of Consolidation that follows stretches from 1951, with the extension of the Indian Telegraph Act to the whole of India and ends with the promulgation of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act in 1985. The current age is the Age of Uncertainty, which began in 1989 with the introduction of the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Bill. The story gets better from now.
II News Agencies:
PTI(Press Trust of India) and UNI(United News of India) are the two primary Indian news agencies. The former was formed after the it took over the operations of the Associated Press of India and the Indian operations of Reuters soon after independence on August 27, 1947. PTI is a non-profit cooperative of the Indian newspapers.
List of popular publications in urban India in 2003
List of popular English dailies in urban India in 2003