Media of India

Media of India
Publicity poster for the film Raja Harishchandra (1913) at Coronation Hall, Girgaon, Mumbai.

Media of India consist of several different types of communications media: television, radio, cinema, newspapers, magazines, and Internet-based Web sites. Many of the media are controlled by large for-profit corporations who reap revenue from advertising, subscriptions, and sale of copyrighted material. India also has a strong music industry. The Indian media was initiated since the late 18th century with print media started in 1780, radio broadcasting initiated in 1927, and the screening of Auguste and Louis Lumière moving pictures in Bombay initiated during the July of 1895 —is among the oldest and largest media of the world.[1] Indian media—private media in particular—has been "Free and Independent" throughout most of its history.[2] The period of emergency (1975–1977), declared by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was the brief period when India's media was faced with potential government retribution.[2][3]

The organisation Reporters Without Borders compiles and publishes an annual ranking of countries based upon the organisation's assessment of their press freedom records. In 2010 India was ranked 122nd of 178th countries, which was a setback from the preceding year.[4]



The Anandabazar Patrika—founded in 1922 by Prafulla Chandra Sarkar—has the largest circulation for a single-edition regional language newspaper in India.
The headquarters of Doordarshan, for which experimental telecast started in September 1959. Regular daily transmission followed in 1965 as a part of All India Radio.

The first major newspaper in India—The Bengal Gazette—was started in 1780 under the British Raj.[2] Other newspapers such as The India Gazette, The Calcutta Gazette, The Madras Courier (1785), The Bombay Herald (1789) etc. soon followed.[2] These newspapers carried news of the areas under the British rule.[2] The Times of India was founded in 1838 as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce by Bennett, Coleman and Company, a colonial enterprise now owned by an Indian conglomerate.[5] The Times Group publishes The Economic Times (launched in 1961), Navbharat Times (Hindi language), and the Maharashtra Times (Marathi language).[5]

In the 1950s 214 daily newspapers were published in the country.[2] Out of these, 44 were English language dailies while the rest were published in various regional languages.[2] This number rose to 2,856 dailies in 1990 with 209 English dailies.[2] The total number of newspapers published in the country reached 35,595 newspapers by 1993 (3,805 dailies).[2]

The main regional newspapers of India include the Malayalam language Malayala Manorama (published from: Kerala, daily circulation: 673,000) and Madhyamam Daily", (published from: Kerala, with international editions from Dubai, Doha, Bahrain, Dammam and Kuwait), the Hindi-language Dainik Jagran (published from: Uttar Pradesh, daily circulation in 2006: 580,000), and the Anandabazar Patrika (published from: Kolkata, daily circulation in 2006: 435,000).[6] The Times of India Group, the Indian Express Group, the Hindustan Times Group, and the Anandabazar Patrika Group are the main print media houses of the country.[6]

Newspaper sale in the country increased by 11.22% in 2007.[7] By 2007, 62 of the world's best selling newspaper dailies were published in China, Japan, and India.[7] India consumed 99 million newspaper copies as of 2007—making it the second largest market in the world for newspapers.[7]


Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (office: 19 March 1998 – 22 May 2004) placed the development of Information Technology among his top five priorities and formed the Indian National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development.

Radio broadcasting was initiated in 1927 but became state responsibility only in 1930.[8] In 1937 it was given the name All India Radio and since 1957 it has been called Akashvani.[8] Limited duration of television programming began in 1959, and complete broadcasting followed in 1965.[8] The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting owned and maintained the audio-visual apparatus—including the television channel Doordarshan—in the country prior to the economic reforms of 1991.[6] The Government of India played a significant role in using the audio-visual media for increasing mass education in India's rural swathes.[2] Projected television screens provided engaging education in India's villages by the 1990s.[2]

Following the economic reforms satellite television channels from around the world—including BBC, CNN, CNBC, PTV, and other foreign television channels gained a foothold in the country.[9] 47 million household with television sets emerged in 1993, which was also the year when Rupert Murdoch entered the Indian market.[10] Satellite and cable television soon gained a foothold.[10] Doordarshan, in turn, initiated reforms and modernisation.[10] With 1,400 television stations as of 2009, the country ranks 4th in the list of countries by number of television broadcast stations.[11]

On 16 November 2006, the Government of India released the community radio policy which allowed agricultural centres, educational institutions and civil society organisations to apply for community based FM broadcasting license. Community Radio is allowed 100 Watt Effective Radiated Power (ERP) with a maximum tower height of 30 meters. The license is valid for five years and one organisation can only get one license, which is non-transferable and to be used for community development purposes.


The Indian Government acquired the EVS EM computers from the Soviet Union, which were used in large companies and research laboratories.[12] Tata Consultancy Services – established in 1968 by the Tata Group – were the country's largest software producers during the 1960s.[12] The 'microchip revolution' of the 1980s had convinced both Indira Gandhi and her successor Rajiv Gandhi that electronics and telecommunications were vital to India's growth and development.[13] MTNL underwent technological improvements.[13] Between 1986–1987, the Indian government embarked upon the creation of three wide-area computer networking schemes: INDONET (intended to serve the IBM mainframes in India), NICNET (network for the National Informatics Centre), and the academic research oriented Education and Research Network (ERNET).[14]

The Indian economy underwent economic reforms in 1991, leading to a new era of globalisation and international economic integration.[15] Economic growth of over 6% annually was seen between 1993–2002.[15] The economic reforms were driven in part by significant the internet usage in India.[16] The new administration under Atal Bihari Vajpayee—which placed the development of Information Technology among its top five priorities— formed the Indian National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development.[17] Internet gained a foothold in India by 1996.[12] India had a total of 100 million Internet users—comprising 8.5% of the country's population—by 2010.[18] By 2010, 13 million people in India also had access to broadband Internet— making it the 10th largest country in the world in terms of broadband Internet users.

India had a total of 34 million fixed lines in use by 2011.[19] In the fixed line arena, BSNL and MTNL are the incumbents in their respective areas of operation and continue to enjoy the dominant service provider status in the domain of fixed line services.[20] BSNL controls 79% of fixed line share in the country.[20]

In the mobile telephony sector, Bharti Airtel controls 24.3% subscriber base followed by Reliance Communications with 18.9%, Vodafone with 18.8%, BSNL with 12.7% subscriber base as of June-2009.[20] India had a total of 880 million mobile phone connections by 2011.[21] Total fixed-line and wireless subscribers reached 688 million as of August 2010.[22]

Motion pictures

The history of film in India begins with the screening of Auguste and Louis Lumière moving pictures in Bombay during the July of 1895.[23] Raja Harishchandra—a full length feature film—was initiated in 1912 and completed later.[23] Alam Ara (released 14 March 1931) —directed by Ardeshir Irani—was the first Indian movie with dialogues.[24]

Indian films were soon being followed throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East—where modest dressing and subdued sexuality of these films was found to be acceptable to the sensibilities of the audience belonging to the various Islamic countries of the region.[25] As cinema as a medium gained popularity in the country as many as 1, 000 films in various languages of India were produced annually.[25] Hollywood also gained a foothold in India with special effects films such as Jurassic Park (1993) and Speed (1994) being specially appreciated by the local audiences.[25] Expatriates throughout the United Kingdom and in the United States continued to give rise to an international audiences to Indian movies, which, according to The Encyclopædia Britannica (2008) entry on Bollywood, "continued to be formulaic story lines, expertly choreographed fight scenes, spectacular song-and-dance routines, emotion-charged melodrama, and larger-than-life heroes".[26]

See also

  • List of television stations in India


  1. ^ See Thomas 2006 and Burra & Rao 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Thomas, 105
  3. ^ On the whole, the press functions with little government censorship, and serious controls have been imposed only in matters of national security, in times of emergency, or when it is deemed necessary to avoid inflaming passions (e.g., after communal riots or comparable disturbances) —Schwartzberg (2008)
  4. ^ "A Press Freedom Index 2010". Reporters Without Borders. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Thomas, 105–106
  6. ^ a b c Thomas, 106
  7. ^ a b c "World Association of Newspapers (2008), ''World Press Trends: Newspapers Are A Growth Business''". 2 June 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c Schwartzberg (2008)
  9. ^ Thomas, 106–107
  10. ^ a b c Thomas, 107
  11. ^ CIA World Factbook: Field Listing – Television broadcast stations.
  12. ^ a b c Desai (2006)
  13. ^ a b Chand, 86
  14. ^ Wolcott & Goodman, 568
  15. ^ a b Sharma (2006)
  16. ^ Wolcott & Goodman, 564
  17. ^ Wolcott & Goodman, 564–565
  18. ^ See The World Factbook: Internet users and Internet World Stats.
  19. ^ CIA World Factbook: Rank Order – Telephones – main lines in use.
  20. ^ a b c From the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India see Study paper on State of Indian Telecom Network and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Press Release No. 89 /2006.
  21. ^ CIA World Factbook: Rank Order – Telephones – mobile cellular.
  22. ^ Tripathy, Devidutta (25 July 2008). "Reuters (2008), ''India adds 8.94 mln mobile users in June''". Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  23. ^ a b Burra & Rao, 252
  24. ^ Burra & Rao, 253
  25. ^ a b c Watson (2008)
  26. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica (2008), Bollywood.


  • Burra, Rani Day & Rao, Maithili (2006), "Cinema", Encyclopedia of India (vol. 1) edited by Stanley Wolpert, pp. 252–259, Thomson Gale, ISBN 0-684-31350-2.
  • Chand, Vikram K. (2006), Reinventing public service delivery in India: Selected Case Studies, Sage Publications, ISBN 0-7619-3489-8.
  • Desai, Ashok V. (2006), "Information and other Technology Development", Encyclopedia of India (vol. 2) edited by Stanley Wolpert, pp. 269–273, Thomson Gale, ISBN 0-684-31351-0.
  • Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (2008), India, Encyclopædia Britannica.
  • Sharma, Shalendra D. (2006), "Globalization", Encyclopedia of India (vol. 2) edited by Stanley Wolpert, pp. 146–149, Thomson Gale, ISBN 0-684-31351-0.
  • Thomas, Raju G. C. (2006), "Media", Encyclopedia of India (vol. 3) edited by Stanley Wolpert, pp. 105–107, Thomson Gale, ISBN 0-684-31352-9.
  • Watson, James L. (2008), Globalization, Encyclopædia Britannica.
  • Wolcott, P. & Goodman, S. E. (2003), Global Diffusion of the Internet – I India: Is the Elephant Learning to Dance?, Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 11: 560–646.

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