History of Media in India

                  History of Media in India 

The power of media is colossal. Today’s media is playing an enormous role in building and shaping of public perspective and reinforcement of society. Media is the weapon of democracy. Media consistently guard the public interest against illegal practices, misconduct, negligence and corruption seeping into the roots of the country at a higher rate. Media stands for public rights and create public awareness. The influence of media on people is so powerful today that it shapes their outlook and dominates their ability of decision-making. Media is indisputably the fourth pillar of democracy along with executive, judiciary and legislature fighting against injustice, discrimination, exploitation, and oppression. Media has been an integral part of human civilization from the time immemorial. The Indian media is among the oldest and largest media in the world.

The history of media in India dates back to the late 18th century with the emergence of print media in India 1780 followed by the screening of Auguste and Louis Lumière moving pictures in Bombay during 1895 and radio broadcasting which initiated in 1927. The history of media in India has always been considered ‘free and independent’ becoming the voice of the masses.

“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the
power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent,
and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses” 

Malcolm X

The evolution of print media in the country stands unmatched in the world. India is the biggest newspaper market globally. Over 100 million copies sold every day. The first newspaper in India, Hicky's Bengal Gazette was published in January 1780 by James Augustus Hicky under the British Raj. Mainly carrying the news about the private lives of the Sahibs of the company, this two-sheet newspaper spilled out some of the secretive facts of major events back then. He even took the risk of passing offensive allegations on the wife of Governor-General, Warren Hastings' This landed the printer in trouble as he was sentenced for a period of 4 months in jail and had to pay a fine of Rs 500. But this didn’t stop him and his continued attacks on Governor-General and the Chief Justice resulted in one-year imprisonment and also a penalty of Rs 5,000 that drove him to poverty. Other newspapers that were started under the British Rule were The India Gazette published B. Messink and Peter Reed, Calcutta Gazette, Madras Courier which was started in 1785 by Richard Johnson and Bombay Herald which was later renamed as Bombay Gazette. Similar to Madras Courier, Bombay Gazette was known for carrying " official notifications and advertisements" The famous Times Group launched their own newspaper, The Times of India (TOI) in 1838 and is the oldest English newspaper in India which is still published. In 1878, one of the leading newspapers and the most circulated newspaper was established Kasturi Ranga Iyengar – The Hindu. In 1996, The Hindu became the first newspaper in India to have a website. In Hindi, Udant Martand was the first ever Hindi newspaper published in India by Pt. Jugal Kishore Shukla. Besides, Gujrati- printed Bombay Samachar was established in 1822 and is the oldest newspaper in Asia still in circulation. Post-independence, the newspaper industry has grown exponentially and presently India publishes approximately 1000 and 250 Hindi and English dailies respectively. Some of the renowned Hindi newspapers are Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, Navbharat Times, Dainik Bhaskar, Punjab Kesari, and Rajasthan Patrika.
Another significant tool of Indian Media is radio. All India Radio, officially known as Akashvani is the national public radio broadcaster. Started in 1927, radio broadcasting has played a major role in the history of Indian media.
independence, AIR had only six radio stations in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli. Television broadcasting started in India in 1959 as Doordarshan (DD) which was a part of AIR initially but was later separated from radio in 1976. DD provided radio and television throughout India. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting owned both AIR and Doordarshan until the establishment of Prasar Bharti, an autonomous body set up in 1997 by an Act of Parliament. Doordarshan currently has 6 national channels, 16 Regional language satellite channels, 12 regional state networks, and 1 international channel.

The advent of technology in the 21st century has evolved, realigned and reinvented the face of Indian media. This era liberalization, privatization, and globalization (LPG) has led to dramatic twists and turns in the history of Indian media. Moreover, Most of the traditional media channels such as newspaper and radio have seen a setback with the emergence of electronic media interfaces. Most of the newspaper and magazines companies have online news portal which can be easily accessed on mobile phone or laptop through the internet. The power of online media is quickly expanding. Digital-only newspaper, blogs, websites and social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter have gained immense popularity. Some of the popular digital-only newspapers are Daily hunt, Firstpost, The News Minute, ScoopWhoop and Youth Ki Awaaz.
This is a very crucial time for the Indian media as it has become a very potent source of informing, educating, entertaining and directing the citizens of India. Along with traditional print media, all the audio-video and social media platforms cater to a richly diversified audience of India still unfolding new chapters in the History of media in India. Read more posts…

Written By
Prerna Singh

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