The media besides entertaining, plays an important role in creating people’s awareness of policies and programmes for their development and in motivating them to be active partners in the national building endeavour. In the Indian context the most effective media today comprises a synthesis of traditional and folk forms of communications on one hand and the modern print and audio visual media including satellite communication on the other.
Print media (The Press)
The first newspaper (Weekly) published in India was Bengal Gazette also called Hickey’s Gazette. It was in English and started in 1780 in Calcutta by an Englishman James Hicky. Dig Darshan (Bengali) was the first language newspaper also from Calcutta (1818)
The Gujarati daily Bombay Samachar (circulation 1, 59, 236) published form Bombay is the oldest existing newspaper not only in Indiabut in Asia. It was established in 1822. The print media in India consists on 41 centenarians.
Registrar of newspapers in India (RNI)
It was set up in 1956. The RNI allots newsprint and recommends import of printing machinery for newspapers. as a part of non-statutory functions, the Registrar’s office issues Entitlement Certificates to the small and medium newspapers/periodicals, whose annual entitlement of newsprint mills. Every newspaper/periodical has to be registered with the RNI.
India has 4 news agencies: Press Trust of India (PTI), United news of India (UNI), Samachar Bharati and Hindustan Samachar.
PTI was set up on August 27, 1947. It took over from the Associated Press of India (API) and Reuters. It has 140 news bureau in the country including computerized offices in the 4 metros.
UNI was registered as a company in 1954 and started news operation in 1961. In 1982 it launched its Hindi news services ‘UNIVARTA’. It operates a news service to the media in four Gulf countries.
Press Information Bureau (PIB)
PIB, the central agency of the Government of India, through its network of 40 regional/branch offices, disseminates information on its policies, programmes, decisions and activities. With a countrywide teleprinter network and airbag facilities. PIB reaches newspaper organization all over the country. PIB arranges photo coverage of government activities. PIB is linked with 20 of its Regional offices over computer. The Bureau also has a PIB window in the Internet system which makes information internationally accessible. PIB distributes press material to over 8,000 newspaper establishments.
Set up in Jan. 1940 under Home Dept., then called Foreign Branch of the Bureau of Public Information a media unit of the Min. of I & B (since Dec. 1944), provides up-to-date and authentic information on all subjects of national importance through books.
Press Council of India
It owes its origin to the recommendations of the First Press Commission. The Press Council of India Act, 1965 was enacted and under it the first Press Council was set up in 1966. This body continued to be in existence till Dec. 1975. The present Council was set up under the Act 37 of 1978. It is meant to safeguard the freedom of the press, maintain and improve the standard of newspapers and news agents.
The total number of newspapers and periodicals, as on 31st December 1995, was 37,254 consisting of details, tri/bi-weeklies, weeklies, monthlies, fortnightlies, quarterlies, annuals and publications with periodicities like bi-monthlies, half yearlies etc. newspapers were published in as many as 100 languages and dialects during 1996. Apart from English and 18 principal languages enumerate din the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, newspapers were published in 81 other languages, mostly Indian languages or dialects and a few foreign languages. The highest number of newspapers were published in Hindi. Daily newspapers were brought out in 17 principal languages except Kashmiri and Konkani.
Important Indian Daily newspapers/Periodicals
West Bengal: The Statesman, Hisdustan Standard, Amrit Bazar Patrika (English), Basumati, Jugantar, Anand Bazar patrika (Bengali), Likmanya (Hindi), Telegraph, Sunday, Asian Age (English).
Assam: Asam Tribune (English), Nutan Assamiya (Assamese)
Bihar:Indian Nation, Searchlight (English), Viwamitra (Hindi), Time of India, Hindustan Times (English)
Maharashtra: Times of India (completed 150 years in 1988), Indian Express (English), Mumbai samachar, Jam-e-Jamshed and Janmabhoommi (Gujarati), Dainik Bharat (Marathi), Nava Bhrat Times (Hindi), Nav Yug (Kannada), jai Hind (Gujarati), Illustrated Weekly (competed its centenary in 1979) now discontinued, Blitz (Weekly), Mumbai Kesari of Pune.
Gujarat: Times of India, Indian Express (Ahmedabad).
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh: Hindu (English), (Competed its centenary in 1978), Indian Express (English), Andhra Patrika (Telugu), Daily Thanthi (Tamil), Dinamani (Tamil) Deccam Chornicle (English), Kalki, Ananda Vikatan, Kumudam (Tamil Weeklies) Chennai, Frontline, Business Line.
Madhya Pradesh: Hitavada (English), Matribhoomi (Oriya)
Delhi: Hindustan Times, The Statesman, Indian Express, Times of India, Hindu, Pioineer, Asian Age, National Herald and Patriot (English), Tej, Pratap, Milap and Quami Awaz (Urdu), Nav Bharat Times, Hindustan, Vir Arjun, Jansatta, Sahara (Hindi), Jathedar (Punjabi). The Business and Political Observer, Economic Times, Financial Express (English Daily), India Today, Business Today and Business Standard.
Rajasthan:Rajasthan Pathrika, Jagriti and Lokvani (Hindi), The Times (Jaipur)
Uttar Pradesh: National Herald, Northern Patrika, Pioneer (English), Time of India (Lucknow)
Punjab: Punjab Kesari (Hindi & Urdu), Akali Patrika (Punjabi), Ajit, Hindi Samachar, Pradip (Urdu), Tribune (English, Hindi and Punjabi), Indian Express.
Kerala: Matribhoomi, Kerala Bhushanam, Malayala Manorma (Malayalam), Indian Express, The Week.
Karnataka: Daily News, Daily Post (English), Janvani, Samyukta Karnataka (Kannada), Indian Express, Deccan Herald.
In India Akashvani broadcasting started in 1927 with privately owned transmitters at Bombay and Calcutta. In 1930, Government took over the transmitters and started operating them under the name of Indian Broadcasting service. It was changed to All India Radio (AIR) in 1936 and it came to be known as Akashvani since 1957. AIR is serving as an effective medium to inform and educate people besides providing wholesome entertainment. FM service is available at AIR stations in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and Panaji. Time slots are allotted to private parties as well as for broadcasting programmes.
The External service of AIR broadcasts programmes every day in 24 languages – 8 Indian languages, English and 15 foreign languages. it serves in projecting Indian point of view in world affairs besides disseminating information on Indian life, thought, culture, tradition and heritage.
AIR network comprises 185 broadcast centres, 293 transmitters and 30 Vividh Bharati commercial centres. There are 148 mw transmitters, 51 short-wave transmitters and 94 FM transmitters. The present national coverage is 90.6% by area and 97.3% by population (’95 – 96).
Internet users numbering 80 million can now listen to AIR – programmes in audio mode. The programmes are broadcast in mono, as stereo programme cannot be transmitted over telephone lines. But users having leased line on ISDN can receive stereo transmission.
Doordharshan Television started in India as an experimental service in September 1959, with a limited transmission on three days a week. The regular service began in 1965. In 1976. Television was delinked from AIR to from an independent organization-Doordarshan. Doordarshan aims at promoting national integration, dissemination of message to promote family planning and welfare, dissemination of essential knowledge to stimulate agricultural production, promote environmental preservation, projection of social protection for women and children, promote interest in game4s and sports and to create values to appreciate artistic and cultural heritage. It witnessed unprecedented growth after 1982. In 1995-96, Doordarshan reached 86% of the population and 68.4% of the area of the country through a network of 750 transmitters. There are 38 programme production centres at different parts of the country. There are 50 other transmitters giving terrestrial support to the other channels and Doordarshan uses a large number of transponders on the INSAT. The international Channel beams its programmes on a transponder on PAS-4.
Doordarshan’s primary viewership is of the order of 270 million. Doordarshan telecasts programmes more than 1021 hours every week on its primary service. In 1995-96. Doordarshan had 19 satellite channels and two terrestrial channels.