News Papers and Print Media in India
Indian press includes 41 centenarians. The Gujarati daily Bombay Samachar published from Bombay is the oldest existing newspaper which was started in 1822. Arland Bfzar Patrika, Times of India and Hindustan Time: retained the first, second and third positions respectively circulation-wise. At the end of 1992, the total number of the newspaper was 31,957 compared to 30,214 in 1991 an increase of 5.8 per cent. Among them, 3,502 were dailies, 271 weeklies, 10,375 weeklies and 17,809 other periodicals. Newspapers are published from all states and union territories. Uttar Pradesh claimed the top position with 4,631 newspapers. It was followed by Delhi (4,226), Maharashtra (3,497), West Bengal (2,843), Rajasthan: 2,253), Madhya Pradesh (2,235), Tamil Nadu (1,879), Karnataka (1,571), Andhra Pradesh (1,529), Bihar (1,432) and Kerala (1,376).
In the case of dailies also, Uttar Pradesh maintained its top position with 535 newspapers, followed by Bihar (379), Madhya Pradesh (321) and Maharashtra (307). Apart from the sixteen principal languages and a few in foreign languages, the highest number of newspapers were published in Hindi (11,638) followed by English (5,139).
Total circulation of newspapers/periodicals as on 31 December 2006 was 8,36,67,000 copies as compared to 6,38,85,000 copies in 1996. The largest number of newspapers in all languages except Kashmiri were owned by individuals during 1994. Individual newspapers were having the biggest share in circulation with 40.3 per cent.
The Press Information Bureau (PIB) is the central agency of the Government of India to disseminate information on its policies, decisions and activities. The information put out by PIB goes to daily newspapers, news periodicals and news agencies as well as radio and television organisations both Indian and foreign. With a countrywide teleprinter network and airbag facilities, PIB reaches newspaper organisations not only in Delhi but in all other parts of the country as well. No other organisation in the country reaches such a large number of newspaper organisations and other media. PIB distributes its press material to over 8,000 newspaper establishments.
The main functions of the Bureau are to put out information on Government policies, programmes and activities, obtain feedback on how these are received and apprise the Government of public reaction as published in the news and editorial columns of English and Indian language newspapers. The Bureau also advises the Government on its information and media policy.
Officers of the Bureau at its headquarters in Delhi• are attached to different ministries and departments of the Government of India. These officers explain and interpret government policies and disseminate factual information. The departmental publicity officers also perform the role of public reaction evaluator, keeping the Government in touch with public opinion as reflected in media besides providing explanation and backgrounders of official pronouncements. He also acts as an adviser to the Government on press relations and publicity. He maintains constant liaison with newspaper correspondents and representatives of other mass media.
The Bureau employs a variety of means to disseminate information. Written material issued by the Bureau includes press releases, press communique, press notes and handouts, backgrounders’ features and newsletters. The material is put out in English, Hindi, Urdu and 13 other Indian languages. The Bureau also arranges press conferences and briefings to enable media representatives to get the news and clarifications first hand. The Bureau also conducts press tours to development projects for on-the-spot study by the media persons. Such tours are conducted from its headquarters and regional/branch offices. The Bureau creates media events and launches special publicity campaigns, identifying thrust areas, formats, channels and timings. PIB arranges photo coverage of Government activities. A large number of photographs of Government activities are supplied to dailies and periodicals all over the country to enable them to supplement written coverage with pictures. The Bureau has its telephoto types of equipment with which photographs are transmitted the same day to some of its regional and branch offices. The Bureau supplies ebonoid blocks to small and medium newspapers which have no facility to make their own blocks. PIB also supplies photographs to newspapers. Both black and white and colour prints are provided to newspapers. Through telephoto service connecting PIB Delhi with Calcutta, Bombay and Madras, important news photographs are now reaching newspapers in those areas the same day.
At present, there are 1,283 journalists accredited to the Government at the headquarters. They include correspondents of news agencies, newspapers, editor-cum-correspondents, correspondent-cum-cameramen, cameramen, cartoonists and cartographers, both Indian and foreign. The Bureau is the implementing ^gency for exchange of journalists between India and foreign countries under Cultural Exchange Programmes and protocols.
The Bureau has a network of eight regional offices at Bombay, Madras, Chandigarh, Calcutta, Lucknow, Guwahati, Bhopal and Hyderabad, 23 branch offices, five branch office-cum-information centres and one camp office, most of which are linked with PIB headquarters by teleprinter. Through the regional and branch offices, the Bureau supplies press material to newspapers and other news media of various Indian languages, besides Hindi and English in all parts of the country. Libraries are also attached to the information centres which serve as repositories of information on various development matters.
PIB, Delhi is linked with computers with its regional offices located at Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Guwahati Chandigarh, Lucknow, Bhopal and Hyderabad. Eventually, all its units will be linked by computers. Regional and branch offices of the Bureau have linked with PIB headquarters at New Delhi through FAX also. Information dissemination from Delhi to PIB’s eight regional offices is being further improved by introducing a `Switching System’ to ensure speedy and efficient transmission of press material to reach newspapers.
A National Press Centre has been set up in the Press Information Bureau, New Delhi. It serves as a nerve centre for both the national and international press. The Centre has all facilities of international standards like a telecommunication centre, a Press Conference Hall and a Cafeteria. New Agencies in India: Press Trust of India Limited is a non-profit sharing cooperative of newspapers with a mandate to provide efficient and unbiased news service to all its subscribers without discrimination. Established on 27 August 1947, the news agencies took over the Associated Press of India and the Indian operation of Reuters and began functioning from February 1949.
PTI offers its news services in English and Hindi languages. The news service in the English language is offered as a ‘core’ of all basic news and in more detailed segments of national and regional news, economic and commercial news, international news and sports news. A network of 145 bureaux, over 400 journalists, about 300 part-time correspondents and other staff of about 1200 work in PTI in the agency’s task of keeping its teleprints ticking on a round-the-clock basis. For international news besides having over 30 representatives and stringers around the world, PTI has also arrangements with Reuters, AFP and several national news agencies for the distribution of their news service in India.
The Agency has computerised its news operations. Keeping pace with developments in technology, electro-mechanical printers have given way to high-speed electronic printers and even direct computer input. Highspeed data circuits and satellite transmission have also enabled PTI to reach its news in the far corners of the country with the minimum time lag.
PTI-Bhasha the agency’s news service in the Hindi language, is one of the several new services that PTI has launched as part of a diversification plan to evolve from a mere purveyor of teleprinter news in the English language to a piece of multi-media information disseminating organisation. The diversification began in the late 70s from the launch of ‘Economic Service’ as a fortnightly journal. ‘Science Service’ is a fortnightly journal specialising in that field. PTI-News scan provides news on video monitors. PTI-Stockscan provides stock information on large screens at stock exchanges and on video monitors at other places. PTI-Photo has since the mid-’80s changed the very look of Indian Newspapers. PTI-TV is the television arm of the agency. PTI also brings out ‘Data India’, a weekly backgrounder on developments in and affecting India, as a mailer publication. Among the new services launched by the agency in the more recent past are PTI-Graphics and PTI-Mag. PTI-Mag is a weekly matter package of topical news features and soft stories. It is proposed to be offered in the near future as a separate segment in the English news service. The agency has also planned for a colour photo service. PTI-Com scan which is to provide commercial and financial market news in user-definable segments retrievable on computers is in an advanced stage of development and shortly set for launch.
The agency is now engaged in a programme for the up-gradation of the computer and communication network at its state capital and other news-handling through the installation of news-handling computer systems and linking them with metro centres by highspeed data circuits and satellite reception terminals. PTI is a leading participant in the Pool of News Agencies of the Non-Aligned Countries and the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA). It is a major redistribution centre in the news exchange arrangements of both multilateral arrangements. United News of India (UNI) was registered as a company on 10 November 1959 and began its news operations on 21 March 1960.