Newspapers Of India And China
gazette press government lord calcutta indian
NEWSPAPERS OF INDIA AND CHINA, India. -For a considerable period under the rule of the East India Company, the Indian press was very unimportant both in character and influence. It was permitted to shape its course and to gain a position as it could, under the potent checks of the deportation power and the libel law, without any direct censorship. Nor was it found difficult to inflict exemplary punishment on the writers of "offensive paragraphs."
Prior to Lord Wellesley's administration the most considerable newspaper published at Calcutta were The World, The Bengal Journal, The Hurkar2t, The Calcutta Gazette (the organ of the Bengal Government), The Telegraph, The Calcutta Courier, The Asiatic Mirror, and The Indian Gazette. Not one of these eight journals has survived, as a substantive publication,' until now. Mr Duane, the editor of the first-named paper, was sent to Europe in 1794 for "an inflammatory address to the army," as was Mr Charles Maclean, four years afterwards, for animadverting in The Telegraph on the official conduct of a local magistrate. Lord Wellesley was the first governor-general who created a censorship (April 1799). His press-code was abolished by the marquis of Hastings in 1818. The power of transporting obnoxious editors to Europe of course remained. Perhaps the most conspicuous instance of its exercise was the removal of the editor of The Calcutta Journal (Silk Buckingham), which occurred immediately after Lord Hastings's departure from India, and during the government of his temporary successor, Mr John Adam. Buckingham's departure was followed closely (14th March 1823) by a new licensing Act, far exceeding in stringency that of Lord Wellesley, and (5th April 1823), by an elaborate " Regulation for preventing the Establishment of Printing-Presses without Licence, and for restraining under certain circumstances the Circulation of Printed Books and Papers." The first application of it was to suppress The Calcutta Journal.
In the course of the elaborate inquiry into the administration of India which occupied both Houses of Parliament in 1832, prior to the renewal of the Company's charter, it was stated that there were, besides 5 native journals, 6 European newspapers :-three daily, The Bengal Hurleartt, John Bull, and The Indian Gazette; one published twice a week, The Government Gazette; and two weekly, The Bengal Herald and The Oriental Observer. At this period every paper was published under a licence, revocable at pleasure, with or without previous inquiry or notice. At Madras, on the other hand, the press remained under rigid restriction. The Madras censorship was removed whilst the parliamentary inquiry of 1832 was still pending.
One question only, and that but for a brief interval, disturbed Lord William Bentinck's love of free discussion. The too famous " Half-Batta " measure led him to think that a resolute persistence in an unwise policy by the home Government against the known convictions of the men actually at the helm in India and an unfettered press were two things that could scarcely co-exist. It was on this occasion that Sir Charles Metcalfe recorded his minute of September 1830, the reasoning of which fully justifies the assertion-" I have, for my own part, always advocated the liberty of the press, believing its benefits to outweigh its mischiefs ; and I continue of the same opinion." This opinion was amply carried out in the memorable raw (drafted by Macaulay, and enacted by Metcalfe as governor-general in 1835), which totally abrogated the licensing system. It left all men at liberty to express their sentiments on public affairs, under the legal and moral responsibilities of ordinary life, and remained in force until the outbreak of the mutiny of 1857.
In 1853 Garvin de Tassy, when opening at Paris his annual course of lectures on the Hindustani language, enumerated and gave some interesting details concerning twenty-seven journals (of all sorts) in Hindustani. In 1860 he made mention of seventeen additional ones. Of course the circulation and the literary merits of all of them are relatively small. One, however, he said, had reached a sale of 4000 copies.3 In 1857 Lord Canning's law, like that of 1823, on which it is closely modelled, absolutely prohibited the keeping or using of printing-presses, types, or other materials for printing, in any part of the territories in the possession and under the government of the East India Company, except with the previous sanction and licence of Government, and also gave full powers for the seizure and prohibition from circulation of all books and papers, whether printed within the Indian territories or elsewhere.
The Act (March 1878) which now regulates the important part of the subject that concerns the vernacular press of India runs thus :-" Printers or publishers of journals in Oriental languages must, upon demand by the due officer, give bond not to print or publish in such newspapers anything likely to excite feelings of disaffection to the Government or antipathy between persons of different castes or religions, or for purposes of extortion. Notification of warning is to be made in the official gazette if these regulations be infringed (whether there be bond or not); on repetition, a warrant is to issue for seizure of plant, he.; if a deposit have been made, forfeiture is to ensue. Provision is made not to exact a deposit if there be an agreement to submit to a Government officer proofs before publication."
The total number of journals of all kinds published within all the territories of British India was reported by the American consular staff in 1882 as 373, with an estimated average aggregate circulation per issue of 288,300 copies. Of these, 43, with an aggregate circulation of 56,650 copies, were published in Calcutta; 60, with an aggregate circulation of 51,776 copies, at Bombay.
See Minutes of Evidence on the Affairs of the East India Company, February to July 1832, 1. 98-101, 166-180 (Company's edition); Report of the Select Committee of House of Commons on the Affairs, &c., 16th August 1832, 31, 32; Report from Select Committee on the Suppression of the Calcutta Journal, 4th August 1834; Second Report from Select Committee on Indian Territories, 12th May 1853, 64-68; Further Papers on the Mutinies in the East Indies, 1857, No. A, 89-96; Returns relating to the Restriction of the Liberty of the Press in India, 24th August 1857 ; Selections from the Papers of Lord Metcalfe, 1855, 311 sq.; The Oriental Herald, 1824, 1. 6-77, 123-142, 197-224; Letters to the Marquis of Hastings on the Indian Press, 1824, 61, .fie.; Memoirs and Correspondence of the Marquess Wellesley, i. 281, ii. 128 sq.; Wilson, History of British India, from 1805 to 1835, 1848, iii. 581-585; An Act for the Better Control of Publications in Oriental Languages, March 1878; Hubbard, Directory, ii. 2458 sq.
China.-The Peking Gazette is said, traditionally, to date from the 10th century of the Christian era, but this is unsupported by evidence. The Gazette consists of three parts :-(1) Kung-mench'ae, "Copy of the Palace Gate," a sort of court circular ; (2) Shang-ylt, "Imperial Decrees " ; (3) Tsow-pao, "Memorials from Officers of State." The answers to the documents printed in (3) sometimes appear subjoined as " apostils," sometimes as decrees in (2).3 During part of the last century the Gazette was printed in the imperial palace from movable types of copper (probably brought into China by the Jesuits), afterwards from wax tablets, and for the last sixty years from movable types of wood.
Since 1858 several newspapers on the European model have been established in various large mercantile towns of China. The most notable is the Seng-pao of Shanghai, which circulates throughout many provinces. The Daily Press of Hong-Kong dates from 1860, the North China Herald from 1862. Of all sorts of journals China is credited with 22, of which 14 appear at Hong-Kong, the Gazette only at Peking.
See Sir Rutherford Alcock, " The Peking Gazette," In Fraser's Magazine, February and March 1873 ; W. F. Mayer, in China Review of 1877 ; Bibliographie de la France, 1877, pp. 103, 104; Journal des Economistes, xvi. 228, 1881.
The chief papers of the Cape Colony are The Evening Express (6000) and The Cape Argus (5000). At Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal, in 1882, four papers were published - three in Dutch, one in English.