Journalism is as old as human history. If we go through the history of ancient civilizations, we find that the kings of early ages felt it necessary to keep the masses aware of current affairs. This was the beginning of mass communication.
The papyrus scripts are evidence of this. Some of these scripts, which consist in Pharoah’s edicts, include instructions that they must be fixed at the gate of worship places.
In addition to this, Hammurabi code also indicates the value of mass contact through mass communication as much as possible. In the 751 B.C., the Roman Emperor used to circulate an handout amongst the laity which contains news regarding public interests. This circular was known as Acta Diurna which means daily progress.
The journalism in the modem sense is not SO old. In 1566 A.E., it was in vogue in the city ofVanis that the news were read out loudly in a public gathering from a written script. The people who gathered there to listen the news had to pay one Gazetta.
The word gazette was derived from Gazetta afterwards. It was common in England in sixteenth century that an handout was to be issued from the government which contained the news of public interest. This written script was known as News Sheet.
First written newspaper was issued in Germany in 1609 A.E. In 1611 AE, it was imitated in England.
This was called as News From Spain. Critically speaking one could not call it as a newspaper. We would name “Weeky News”, edited by Nathanll ‘fButtler in 1620 from England, as the first regular newspaper published in England. This was the beginning of modern journalism.
Information system In the history of Islam
News transmission or imparting information in the Muslim history begins with the preaching of the Prophet of Islam. The Holy Prophet’s sending words to the public and kings was an initiative on this side. There was no regular department in the field of information in the early phase of Islamic history.
Amir Muawiya was the first caliph of Is am who set up Al-barid. Al-barid was further expanded and fully established by Abul Malik. AIong with conveying governmental correspondence, another primary purpose of Al-barid was transmittion of news.
The head of AIbarid was also responsible to keep the caliph aware of all important events in his vicinity. The head of this department was called as “Sahib-al-barid wal-Akhbar.”
Information system in South Asia
The system of Al-barid was introduced in South Asia by Ghaznivids. It was expanded and re-organized in the following periods. Alaudin Khalji used it for commercial purpose as well.
It was fully developed under Sher Shah and then under Akbar the Great. In each province, the news writers, annalists and dispatchers were appointed with delicate care.
There were regular annalists and scripters in the Red Fort. Diarists were appointed in the court to record’ daily activities. This type of diaries were called as “Akhbar-e-Darbar-e-Maala”. This type of activity was initiated by the provincial rulers. “Akhbar Dhevri” being written in the court of Nawab of Audh was one of the examples of such diaries.
Syed Abdul Jalil Bilgrami, Mir Syed Muhammad Bilgrami and Mir Ghulam AIi Bilgrami were the prominent news writers of the age.
Unfortunately, the later Mughals were not able to carry on this practise. So, this system was succumbed to disintegration process. AIongwith the notorious corruption and decentralization, the other factor which contributed most to ineffectiveness of the system was establishment of parallel news agencies by Mara hates, Sikhs and the Britishers. Gradually and slowly all news sources were usurped by the rising power of the British.
Evolution of 10urnaUsm In the reign of East India
Company Though East India Company was granted charter on 31st
December 1600, but the need of mass communication was felt in 1768. William Bolts was the first person who established a printing press in Calcutta. He was dismissed.
After leaving India for England, he published a book which could be characterized as unprinted news gaeette. However, we can call Bengal Gazette or Hicky’s Gazette as first regular printed gazette in India history. Hacky’s gazette
• James Augustus Hicky was in service of East India Company. Differences emerged and due to his grievances against the company he became critic. He was fined and prisoned due to his activities.
During his imprisonment, he conceived the idea to issue a gazette. Though he faced many difficulties yet he had the distinction of publishing the first regular periodical in India. First paper was issued on Jan. 29, 1717.
This was four-page weekly gazette in English language. It contained local news and advertisements. In addition to this, sometimes it included a summary of European news. . ~
Hickey’s style was very critical. He used to expose frauds of
the workers, of E.I:C. No one was reserved. He was punished for divulging John Zakariya who was the priest in first English Church in Calcutta. He was deprived of the postal facilities.
He hired the services of a private courier ana carried on his business. He criticized the governor general and the chief justice of Calcutta Supreme Court. In consequence of his severe attacks, he was arrested and sentenced to a term of one year with five thousand rupees as fine.
At last, in a helpless condition, he was constrained to stop the gazette .. India Gazette: It was issued under the auspices of the East India Company to counteract Ricky’s Gazette. Though it was a private gazette but was fully patronized by the company.
Initially it was a weekly gazette but soon it because daily Other names in Anglo-Indian journalism history are of Calcutta Gazette, Courier, Harkaro, Madras Gazette, India Herald, Bombay Herald, ‘Bengal Journal’, ‘Asiatic Mirror’, ‘Calcutta Journal’ and ‘In the East.’ Most of them were privately owned and were critical of the government.