Acta Diuna (Journal of the day) was the earliest known journal. It is a handwritten news bulletin distributed in the Forum Romanum. This was in the 1st century B.C during the time of Julius Caesar.
The first printed newspaper appeared in Peiking (Beijing) in the 8th century A.D. The Chinese did the printing using separate wooden block for type, which could be used over &over again. The Koreans also followed the Chinese. Printing ink & paper were developed in china & Egypt. But the whole process of printing had a stunted growth in Asia
Europeans, on the other hand, used the new process on large scale. They benefited from the popularization of printing, which led to the advent of affordable books & popular newspaper. This also led to the democratization of communication.
Printing led to the third major revolution in communication, the first having been the development of human speech some 35,000 years ago & second the art of representing sound in written form using an alphabet. With the spread of printing, libraries & schools sprang up. Books, libraries & higher education-all these led to major political, socioeconomic & cultural changes in Europe.
The new modes of agricultural & mechanical production, migration of people from rural areas to industrial towns, rapid changes in social & cultural life and scientific and technological led to new methods of communication among people. Democratization of communication meant strengthening of democratic idea. Political democracy led to economic democracy & social reorganization.
In all this, the newsletter produced in various sizes & at different frequencies played an influential role in Germany, Holland, France & England during 16th, 17th & 18th centuries.
By the early 18th century, political leaders realized how powerful an instrument the periodicals were for spreading ideas. Many of them began to produce their own papers to propagate their ideas & influence people such as the Whigs & Tories in England. A new force was detected in society, namely, the force of public opinion. Consequently, the journalism of the period was largely political in nature & thus the impression, justifiable to a great extent, was created that journalism was an adjunct of politics.
Avisa Relation Oder zeitung was the first regular printed newspaper of Europe which commenced publication in 1615. Weekly News was the first newspaper of England that lasted from 1622 to 1641. The next paper there was a fortnight, the Daily Courant that started publication in 1702.
The first printing press in the Americas was established in South America by Juan Pablos, a Spanish printer, in 1539.
Boston, capital of the Massachusetts colony became an active centre of printing in the 17th century. The Puritans imported the first printing press to New England in 1638 to supply printed materials to Harvard College.
The very first newspaper in the US was Public Occurrences-Foreign & Domestic, published by Benjamin Harris, a bookseller in Boston, in 1690. Harris could not continue publication as he was imprisoned by the British authorities for printing without ‘prior consent’. Then came another news paper, the Boston Newsletter in 1704. James Franklin, brother of Benjamin Franklin, published the New England Courant in 1721.
Famous English essayists such as Joseph Addison, Richard Steele, Dr Samuel Johnson & others either contributed essays to their own publications or to periodicals published by other. They wrote contemporary issues besides literary topics. Across the Atlantic, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Pain, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton & other had contributed.
The Glorious Revolution in England (1688), The American Revolution (1775-76) & The French Revolution (1789) owe much to the radical & rational thoughts of people such as theme, Locke the Pitts, Robespierre, Hugo, Voltaire, Rousseau, Jefferson, Franklin, Paine and Hamilton etc.
WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN INDIA DURING THE EARLY CENTURIES?
Emperor Asoka’s pillar inscriptions & rock edicts in different parts of the Mauryan Empire during 3rd century B.C are considered examples of imperial political communication to the informed & literate section of the population. Ashoka used the Prakrit language in his communication on ethics & morals as evidence by his inscriptions.
The learning languages were confined to high casts, the aristocracy, priests, army personnel & landowners. Another feature of communication in ancient India was the emphasis placed on oral & aural systems. Writing was done on palm leaves using a style, but the written documents were considered too scared to be touched or used by the lower classes. The ruling class used certain methods for coding, transmitting & decoding messages secretly through the network of spies to information about neighboring enemies.
According to historians of journalism, news was collected in a well-organized manner under Akbar the Great. In 1574, Akbar established a recording office that helped later medieval historians to gather materials for chronicles.
FIRST PRINTING PRESS IN INDIA:-
The first printing press arrived in India on 6th September 1556 & was installed at the college of St.Paul in Goa.
THE FIRST INDIAN NEWSPAPER:-
First printed newspaper of India was in English edited & published by James Augustus Hicky, an employee of East India Company. It was named Bengal Gazette which came out on 29th January 1780.
Soon many other weeklies & monthlies such as Indian Gazette, Calcutta Journal, Bengal Harakaru, John Bull in the East came out during the 17th & 18th century.
THE MAJOR INDIAN LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER:-
Digdarshan was the first Indian language newspaper. It started in April 1818 by the Serampur missionaries William Carcy, Joshua Marshman & William Ward. They soon started another journal in June of the same year & named it Samachar Darpan.
The famous Raja Ram Mohan Roy also brought out periodicals in English, Bengali & Persian. Some of Roy’s papers were Sambad Kaumadi, Brahmical Magazine, Mirat-ul-Akhbar, and Bangadoota & Bengal Herald
Amnodaya, a distinguished journal in the Assamese language was started in 1846 under the editorship of the Reverend Oliver.T.Cutter.
The newspaper with the greatest longevity in India, Mumbai Samachar was also the first Gujarati Newspaper. It was established in 1822 by Farduvji Marzaban as a weekly & then became a daily in 1832.
The first Hindi daily was samachar Sudhavarshan (Calcutta, 1854). Later Samayadant Martand, Banaras Akhbar, Shimila Akbar & Malwa Akhbar came out.
Calcutta was the birth place not only of English, Bengali & Hindi journalism. The first Urdu newspaper was published by Urdu Akhbar in the second decade of the 19th century.
Kannada Samachar was the earliest Kannada journal, according to many scholars. But others think that the first Kannada journal was Mangaloora Samachar. Later Subudhi Prakasha, Kannada Vaatika, Amnodaya, Mahilaasakhi & Sarvamitra came out during the 18th century.
Mathrubhumi, Malayala Manorama, Kerala Kanmudi are the main newspapers of Kerala. The other daily newspapers are Desabhimani, Mangalam, Madhyamam, Chandrika, Deepika etc.
Darpan was the first Marathi newspaper started on 6 January 1832. Kesari & Sudarak were other papers of the 18th century. Induprakash was an Anglo-Marathi daily established in 1862.
The first Oriya magazine Junaruna was published by the Orissa Mission Press in 1849 under the editorship of Charles Lacey. Then came another publication from the same press ‘Prabhatchandrika’, under the editorship of William Lacey. Utkal Sahitya, Bodhadayini, Baleshwar Sambad Balika etc… started in the 18th century.
Although Maharaja Ranjit Singh encouraged the development of Punjabi journalism. The earliest Punjabi newspaper was a missionary newspaper. The first printing press in Punjab was established in Ludhiana in 1809.
The first periodical ‘Tamil Patrika’ a monthly was brought out in 1831 by the Religious Tract Society in Madras; it lasted till 1833.
The next periodical weekly was the Dina Vartamani published in Madras from 1856 by the Dravidian press & edited by the Reverend P.Percival. Later Swadeshamitran, Deshabaktan etc… were other papers.
Kandukuri Veeresaliongam Pantulu, known as the Father of the renaissance movement in Andhra & the founder of modern Telugu, sparked a social reform movement through his weekly Vivekavardhini. He also founded separate journals for women; Satihitabodhini.
Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan, a great educationist, judge & social reformer did much for the development of Urdu journalism.
THE INDIAN PRESS AT INDEPENDENCE AND TODAY:-
In 1947, the major English newspaper in India were the Times of India (Bombay), Statesman (Calcutta), Hindu (Madras), Hindustan Times (New Delhi), Pioneer (Lucknow), Indian Express (Bombay & Madras) Amrita Bazaar Patrika (Calcutta), National Herald (Lucknow), Mail (Madras) & Hitavada (Nagpur). Of these, the Times of India, Statesman & Pioneer were under British ownership till 1964, when it came under a group of Indian business.
During the long struggle for India’s Independence, the major English newspaper that served the national cause were the Hindu (1878), Amrita Bazaar Patrika (1868), Bombay Chronicle (1913), Free Press Journal (1930, it became Indian Express) & Hindustan Times (1924). Among the Indian language newspapers, the prominent ones were Aaj (1920), Ananda bazaar Patrika (1922), Sakal (1931), Swadeshamitran (1882), Mumbai Smachar (1822), Malayala Manorama (1890) & Mathrubhumi (1930).
Generally speaking, journalism is flourishing in India today. The Indian language newspapers have overtaken the English newspapers in number & circulation. The highest circulation till the 1990’s was enjoyed by the English newspapers despite the fact that less than 5 percent of the population of India claim English as their mother tongue. English is still the medium of instruction in colleges & many prominent schools. It is also the language of administration, although state governments have introduced legislation in favor of local government.
Hindi newspapers have the largest total circulation in India. Hindi is the main language of 10 Indian states- Bihar, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttranchal and Uttar Pradesh.
Certain trends in communication & journalism throughout the modern world prompted several sociologists & media experts to discuss the desirability of re-examining the trends in the light of basic issues. In other words, ‘back to the basics’ say the experts. This is where Gandhi becomes relevant. High technology is good, but if it does not enable us to solve basic problems confronting the succeed in catering to the greed of a few to the exclusion of the need of the many-as it has done through the recent decades and in all countries that experienced colonial subjugation in the past.
Submitted by Shinesha (Oct, 2007)