(Last Updated on : 10/09/2009)
The Indian media started with the development of press, with prime focus on propagating news and on the views about the contemporary events. During the British period, James Augustan Hicky brought out the first newspaper, Bengal Gazette. The year was 1780 and in the era of freedom struggle, Indian Press was first used as the vehicle for propagating nationalist ideologies. Eminent leaders like mahatma Gandhi; Bal Gangadhar Tilak brought out newspapers and thus ennobled the history of Indian media. This scenario continued in the whole of independence period, primarily preoccupied in bringing out political issues to the forth.
The post independence period saw a change. In fact Indian Press was becoming more and more commercial and competitive in approach, sharply deviating from its idealistic approach of the pre- independence era. Especially the early 90s was remarkable in the field of Indian media. It has, been observed that during those years economic and financial policy issues were getting due importance, primarily, because of the economic liberalization that took place. A broad spectrum including entertainment, culture, sports found place. The press has been captured by huge business motives, largely depending on revenues from the advertisements. Another remarkable development is the growth of leading Hindi and regional language newspapers, sufficing the demands of all sections of people in various regions like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and West Bengal etc. Ultimately it increased the circulation to a great extent.
The whole of the scenario of Indian media changed with the introduction of the electronic media, namely Radio and Television. Films were already there in the scenes, entertaining the audiences to the hearts content. Radio broadcasting commenced in 1927, and was labeled as a suitable and cheap medium to reach a large number of people, especially those residing in the remote regions. Some of the important programs are distance education, social services like health, hygiene and special programs for military personnel, farmers etc. Very recently, the opening of FM channels introduced new entertaining programs thus increasing the popularity of Radio in leaps and bounds, even in the urban areas.
Television made its beginning in the country as a modest pilot project in September 1959. Thus began the audio-visual era in Indian media. Doordarshan, the National Television Service in India, started operating through transmitters of varying powers to make available television signals for over eighty seven percent of India`s population. Initially, television was started for the purpose of development communication as vehicle of social change and national cohesion by upholding progressive values and also involving the whole community in a free dialogue. To steer up education .The Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was introduced in 1975 with the noble aim of promoting special educational programs in 2400 villages in six Indian states. Inspite of the noble initiatives of the initial years, television gradually steered away from its goal and charted its program mainly to entertain the audiences.
The Gulf war coverage by CNN in the year 1991 was a defining moment in the beginning of a new era in television broadcasting in India, which ushered in far- reaching changes. Thus the Indian media reached its zenith with the coming of cable television. Five new channels belonging to the Hong Kong based STAR TV gave Indians a fresh breathe of life. MTV, STAR Plus, BBC, Prime Sports and STAR Chinese Channel were the 5 channels. Zee TV was the first private owned Indian channel to broadcast over cable. By 2001-2003, other international channels such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, VH1, Disney and Toon Disney came to India. In 2003 news channels flourished in Indian subcontinent.
With the coming of computer and Internet technology, emerged the aspects of web journalism. However it is in its nascent stage and still a long way to go to proclaim as a separate medium just like print and radio.
Indian media is an epitome of diversity and variety as reflected in the whole identity of Indian tradition and cultural scenario.