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Press and Print Media

Registrar of Newspapers for India

The Office of the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) came into existence on 1 July 1956, on the recommendation of the First Press Commission in 1953 and by amending the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. The Registrar of Newspapers for India, commonly known as the Press Registrar, is required, inter alia to submit an Annual Report to the Government by 31 December every year on the status of newspapers. The period for which the annual statements were to be furnished, was changed from the calendar to financial year in 2002. Earlier the Annual Report was compiled on financial year basis. [The total number of registered Newspapers/Periodical was 65,032 as on 31 March 2007. These were 7,131 dailies, 374 tri/bi-weeklies, 22,116 weeklies, 8,547 fortnightlies, 19,456 monthlies 4,470 quarterlies 605 annuals, and 2,333 of the other periodicity. (The figures have been updated only for the registered newspapers for the year 2006-07)].

According to the report submitted by the Press Registrar for the year 2005-06, Newspapers were registered in 123 languages and dialects. Apart from English and 22 other principal languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, newspapers were registered in 100 other languages and dialects mostly Indian but also in a few foreign languages too. Odisha had the distinction of publishing newspapers in 18 out of 23 principle languages. Maharashtra came next with publication in 17 languages followed by Delhi with publications in 16 principle languages.

Of the 62,483 newspapers registered as on 31 March 2006, only 8,512 submitted Annual Statements during 2005-06. The total circulation of these 8,512 newspapers was 18,07,38,611. The largest number of newspapers and periodicals registered in any Indian language is in Hindi (24,927). The second largest number of newspapers and periodicals registered in any language is in English (9,064). The state with the largest number of registered newspapers is Uttar Pradesh (9,885). The state with the second largest number of registered newspapers is Delhi (8,545).

Press Information Bureau

The Press Information Bureau (PIB) is the nodal agency of the Central Government to disseminate information to the print and electronic media on government policies, programme initiatives and achievements. The Bureau disseminates information through Press Releases, Press Notes, Feature Articles, Backgrounders, Press Briefings, Photographs, Press Conferences, Interviews, Database available on Bureau's website, Press tours, etc.

At its headquarters, the Bureau has Departmental Publicity Officers who are attached to various ministries and departments for the purpose of assisting them in disseminating information to the media through press releases and press conferences, etc., and advise on all matters pertaining to publicity activities. They also provide feedback to their respective ministries and departments. As part of the Special Services, the Feedback Cell in the PIB prepares a daily digest and special digests based on news stories and editorials from national as well as regional dailies and periodicals.

The Feature Unit of the Bureau provides backgrounders, updates, info nuggets, features and graphics which are circulated on the National Network, Internet and also sent to the Regional/Branch offices for translation and circulation to the local press. The unit releases special features for highlighting policies and programmes of the Government. This unit has been producing on an average over 200 features annually including photo features and backgrounders. PIB arranges photo coverage of various Government functions throughout the year and photographs are supplied to dailies and periodicals.

PIB provides accreditation to Media representatives including foreign media at the Headquarters. This facilitates them to access information from the Government sources. About 1425 correspondents and 430 cameramen/photographers are accredited. Besides 150 technicians and about 76 Editors and Media critics have also been granted accreditation.

The Feedback cell of the Bureau prepares a Daily Digest of News & Views based on news items, as well as editorial comment, as reflected in the print media. This digest is prepared on each working day.

The website of PIB which is an important source of information to small & medium newspapers of India was reviewed to make it more attractive and incorporate new features. Some design changes suggested by senior officers of PIB were incorporated. PIB also has 6 sister websites in 6 different languages viz. Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali and in Mizo languages.

Intra PIB, an Intranet web portal for PIB has been upgraded with the new features like. PIB Clipping Service, providing links to in-house applications viz. Hardware Complaints, Monthly Progress Report. Pay slips, Notices, download forms.

Editors Conference on Social Issues

PIB organized an Editors Conference on Social issues in Srinagar (J&K) on the 17-18th October 2007. The Conference was jointly inaugurated by Shri Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Union Rural Development Minister and Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Hon'ble Chief Minister of J & K. The media delegates were addressed by Shri M.A.A. Fatimi, Hon'ble MOS for HRD, Shri R. Velu, MOS for Railway, Shri Mangat Ram Sharma and Shri Mohd. Dilawer Mir, Ministers in the J & K Government. The Conference provided an excellent platform for journalists to interact with Union Ministers and familiarize themselves with the development initiative of the Central Government with special focus on J & K. The two day Conference was attended by more than 150 journalists. 45 editors from all over the country representing regional media and about 120 journalists from J & K State attended the Conference. The Conference was widely covered and reported in the media. In all, PIB received about 700 press clippings reporting the event.

Economic Editors' Conference

Economic Editors' Conference was organized from 12-14 November, 2007 at New Delhi in which around 350 journalist including 63 economic editors from all parts of the country participated. The Ministries participated, are Finance, Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Petroleum & Natural Gas, civil Aviation, Steel, chemical & Fertilizers and Labour. It gave a good platform for interaction on the Government Policies, programmes and achievements with the editors and also got the feed back on these policies. This created a clear understanding among the media of the various economic & infrastructure issues. The Conference sensitises editors on various economic aspects of the country.

Some Statistics
(April, 2007 To March, 2008)
1. No. of assignments covered by Headquarters 1863
2. No of photos released by PIB 3969
3. Total Press Releases 61166
4. Total Features 3101
5. Total Press Conf.:/Press Briefings 5837

News Agencies

Press Trust of India

India's largest news agency, PTI is a non-profit sharing cooperative owned by the country's newspapers with a mandate to provide efficient and unbiased news to all subscribers. Founded on 27 August 1947, PTI began functioning from 1 February 1949.

The PTI offers its news services in English and Hindi languages. Bhasha is the Hindi language news service of the agency. PTI subscribers include 500 newspapers in India and scores abroad. All major TV/radio channels in India and several abroad, including BBC in London, receive PTI service.

The PTI now has its own satellite delivery system through a transponder on an INSAT satellite for reaching its services directly to subscribers anywhere in the country. Increasingly more and more subscribers are opting for satellite reception. Photo service is delivered by satellite as well as accessed by dial-up. PTI has also now begun satellite transmission by Ku band which offers subscribes the option of receiving news through a cheaper and small size satellite receiver.

PTI is on the Internet too. The agency's news services have been showcased on its website http.//www.ptinews.com. Clients also have the option of taking any of PTI's services through Internet. PTI news is also available through World Space radio broadcast reception.

The Photo service is delivered by satellite as well as accessed through dial-up. The agency is now engaged in archiving its photos. Once launched the on-line photo archives will help access photos from the agency's old files dating from 1986 when the Photo service was launched.

With a staff of about 1300 including 350 journalists, PTI has 80 bureau across the country and foreign correspondents in major cities of the world including Beijing, Colombo, Dhaka, Dubai, Islamabad, Kathmandu, Kuala lumpur, London, Moscow, New York and Washington. In addition, about 350 stringers contribute to the news file at home while 20 PTCs bring news from rest of the world. The agency has also networks of photo stringers across the country numbering about 200.

Besides the news and photo services, the other services of the agency include mailer packages of Feature, Science service, Economic service and Data India, and screen-based services as News-scan and stock scan. A television wing, PTI-TV, does features and undertakes corporate documentaries on assignment basis.

The PTI has arrangements with the Associated Press (AP) and agency France Press (AFP) for distribution of their news in India. AP's photo and international commercial information are also distributed in the country through PTI. The PTI is a partner in Asia Pulse International, a Singapore-registered company, formed by PTI and five other Asian media organizations to provide an on-line data bank on economic developments and business opportunities in Asian countries. PTI is also a participant in Asianet, a cooperative arrangement among 12 news agencies of the Asia-Pacific region, for distribution of corporate and government press releases.

The PTI is a leading participant in the NAM News Network, the Internet based news exchange arrangement of the Non-Aligned Countries, and the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies. It also has bilateral news exchange arrangements with several news agencies belonging to the countries of Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.

United News of India

UNI was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 on 19 December 1959 and started functioning effective 21 March 1961. In the past four decades, UNI has grown into a major news organization in India and, with its vibrant presence, provided the much-needed spirit of competition in the vital areas of news gathering and dissemination.

UNI's innovative spirit was evident when it became the first news agency in India to launch a full-fledged Hindi wire service 'UNIVARTA' in 1982 and a Photo Service and a Graphics Service in the same decade. In the early 90s, it launched the first-ever wire service in URDU.

UNI today has about 719 subscribers. It also has 71 offices in India and employee strength of more than 975 persons, including 391 journalists. Apart from its own correspondents in all major cities of the country, it also has about 305 stringers who report from all the important towns. This countrywide network has enabled UNI to provide coverage of events from all the regions of the country.

Further, UNI has Correspondents in Washington, New York, London, Moscow, Dubai, Islamabad, Kathmandu, Colombo, Dhaka, Singapore, Toronto (Canada), Sydney (Australia), Bangkok (Thailand) and Kabul (Afghanistan).

UNI distributes world news from Reuters, the world's largest information company. Besides, it has news exchange arrangements with Xinhua of China, RIA Novosti of Russia, UNB of Bangladesh, Anadolu of Turkey, WAM of the United Arab Emirates, GNA of Bahrain, KUNA of Kuwait, ONA of Oman and QNA of Qatar and CNA of Taiwan.

UNI's Photo Service distributes about 200 pictures every day, including sixty international photographs from EPA, the European Press photo Agency and Reuters. Its Graphics Service distributes five or six graphics every day. UNI today has a countrywide network of 27 photographers and an equal number of photo stringers who contribute round-the-clock for UNI's daily photo report of about 200 pictures. In the 46-odd years of its existence, UNI has acquired an enviable reputation for its fast and accurate coverage of news events.

UNI has always been in the vanguard in adapting modern technology to suit its requirements in news gathering and dissemination. As part of its modernization drive, UNI has computerized nearly all its offices in India. It was a quantum jump for UNI when it upgraded its nationwide tele printer network, extending to over 10, 00,000 km from 50 baud to 300 baud Data circuits. This again was a temporary changeover as UNI further advanced to 1,200 baud speed Data Circuits and then to the state-of-the-art satellite technology for its nationwide distribution of news at a speed of 56 kbps. Switching over to VSAT technology has meant that all our subscribers across the country would get our stories simultaneously without any loss of time. Further, we would also be able to deliver our pictures through this system.

UNI is already the first Indian news agency to deliver its entire news services in English and Hindi as well as its Photo Service through the Internet. Subscribers can download the stories and pictures from the UNI and UNIVARTA websites. The respective addresses of UNI and UNIVARTA websites are: UNI : www.uniindia.com (External website that opens in a new window) and UNIVARTA : www.univarta.com (External website that opens in a new window)

Nam News Network

NNN is the new Internet-based news and photo exchange arrangement of the news agencies belonging to member countries of the non-aligned movement. News and photo contributions of NAM news agencies including Press Trust of India are uploaded onto the NNN website http://www.namnewsnetwork.org (External website that opens in a new window) for on-line access by all. Malaysian news agency Bernama is at present handling the operation of the website from Kuala Lumpur.

Operational from April 2006, NNN was formally launched by the Malaysian Information Minister Mr Zainuddin Maidin in Kuala Lumpur on 27 June 2006. NNN replaces the NANAP which had acted as the news exchange mechanism among non-aligned countries for the last 30 years. With internet a cheap and reliable mode of communication, NNN is expected to contribute to sustained flow of information in the 116 member non-aligned world.

The decision to replace NANAP with NNN was taken at the Sixth Conference of Ministers of Information of Non-Aligned Countries (COMINAC VI) held in Kuala Lumpur in November 2005. The meeting felt that NANAP had lost its momentum due to declining support from member countries and that it "should be revitalized through a new workable mechanism, if necessary in a new form, to move forward." The meeting endorsed a Malaysian proposal for NANAP's replacement by the Internet-based NNN.

NANAP, set up in 1976, was the first attempt of the non-aligned movement to provide for exchange of news among its member countries. During its 30 years of operation, it played a significant role in improving the flow of communication in the non-aligned world. At a time when communication costs were very high, NANAP provided for sharing of communication channels of member news agencies to ensure a common network for exchange of news among all countries of the nonaligned movement. News was exchanged under the arrangement in four international languages - English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Press Council of India

Press Council is a statutory quasi-judicial authority mandated by the Parliament to preserve the freedom of the press and maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and the news agencies in India. It is an autonomous body with equal quasi-judicial authority over the authorities and the press persons. For the discharge of the above objects, the Council comprises of a Chairman and 28 members. While the Chairman handed convention been a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India, of the 28 members, 20 represent various segments of the Press and eight, overseeing the readers' interests are representatives of the two Houses of Parliament and premier literary and legal bodies of the country i.e. University Grants Commission, Bar Council of India and Sahitya Academy. The council has its own funds for performance of its functions under Act that comprises of the fee collected by it from newspapers and other receipts and grants from the Central Government. The Press Council of India has been reconstituted to term w.e.f. January 7, 2008. The Council is presently chaired by Hon'ble Mr. Justice GN Ray.

The Council discharges its functions primarily through adjudications on complaint cases received by it either against the Press for violation of journalistic ethics or by the Press for interference with its freedom. Where the Council is satisfied, after inquiry, that a newspaper or a news agency has offended against the standards of journalistic ethics or public taste or that an editor or working journalist has committed any professional misconduct, the Council may warn, admonish or censure them or disapprove of their conduct. The Council is also empowered to make such observations as it may think fir it respect of the conduct of any authority, including Government, for interfering with the freedom of the press. The decisions of the Council are final and cannot be questioned in any court of law.

During the year under review, a total of 678 complaints were instituted in the Council. of these 120 complaints were by the Press against authorities of the Government for violation of press freedom and 558 complaints were directed against the press for breach of journalistic ethics. With 665 matters pending from the last year, there were a total of 1343 matters for disposal by the Council. Of these 584 matters were disposed of during the year, either by way of adjudication or through summary disposal by the chairman on account of settlement by the mediation of the Chairman or due to lack of sufficient grounds for holding inquires or non-prosecution, withdrawal or on account of matters having become sub-judice. In all 759 matters were being processed at the close of the year.

In its advisory capacity the Council provided the Government and other authorities with its views on:-

  • Publication of report or photograph of juveniles in newspapers;
  • Obscenity in Print & Electronic media;
  • Campaign of Products by the liquor companies in newspapers;
  • Implementation of the recommendations contained in the Fourth Report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) titled 'Ethics in Governance';
  • Petition regarding misuse of Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression by the print and electronic media and the need to restrict under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution;
  • Committee on Empowerment of Women-Selection of subject for examination during the year 2007-2008 Status of Women in Print Media;
  • O.M. of the Ministry of Home Affairs seeking suggestion on "Communal Violence (Prevention, control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005";
  • Private Member's Bill 2007 on the Consumer's goods (publication of price with advertisements) introduced in Rajya Sabha and
  • Draft National Policy on Criminal Justice.

The Council noted and discussed contempt proceedings against Mid-Day before High Court of Delhi and the conviction of its journalists. The Council observed that even though the entire facts considered by the Hon'ble High Court were not before the Council and specific issue of Mid Day was also pending before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India and thus sub-judice, without entering into the merits of the case, it felt that the courts were expected to be more sensitive to the duties and functions of the press and before taking any view the courts were expected to consider whether the criticism per se had undermined the functioning of the court in the estimation of the public by demeaning the judges presiding in the law courts.

It also observed that in a democratic set up all institutions were open to bonafide critical evaluation of their functioning and such bonafide criticism in public interest would only strengthen the quality of functioning. Eminent judges and jurists had indicated that dignity of the court would be maintained more by restraint and magnanimity. The Council recalled that it had only recently supported before the Parliamentary committee the proposal to accept truth as a defence in any contempt proceedings against the Media and truth forming the basis of the media information had now been protected under the amended provisions of the contempt of courts Act. Therefore, media information based on truth and published in the public interest would constitute defense in a contempt proceedings. It however, felt that such publication should not be accompanied by publicity, which was excessive.

The Council had been continuously facing the question as to why it was not taking steps to restrain the electronic media from its aberrations from the guidelines laid down by the council. The Council discussed the matter at length. It felt that the print media of the country was by and large more responsible than a large number of channels of electronic media. There was no doubt that the electronic media needed a regulator. The Press council of India functioning under the mandate of its statute, has successfully guided the print media of the country in promoting ethical conduct, even though a lot of ground was yet to be covered. The Council reiterated that the flexible code built up by it under Section 13 (2) of the Press Council Act, 1978, was as much applicable to the electronic media as to the print media, and that the principles of ethics and morality could not be different for the print and electronic media. It, therefore, resolved that its proposal for entrusting the regulation of print and electronic media to a common body, by conversion of the Press Council of India into Media Monitoring Commission of India, was the mechanism most effective and acceptable to the media. The Council decided that its proposal be pursued with the Government of India.

The Council also initiated a process of consultation and dialogue with press/media councils and similar bodies in different parts of the world for active encouragement to preservation of the press freedom and promotion of its standards and ethics worldwide.

The Council came out with the studies and the reports on important matters which have nexus with the preservation of the freedom of the Press and maintenance of its standards.

  • Study Report on Working Journalist Act vis-a-vis Appointment of Journalists on Contract (27.7.2007).
  • Report on the Problems of Small and Medium Newspapers (October 4-5, 2007)
  • Report of the Assessment Committee on Violation of the Freedom of Press in North-East (October 4-5 2007)

The Council successfully published its quarterly house journals in Hindi and English that chronicle the Activities/important developments of the press world. The website of the Council was enriched with the latest adjudications of the Council and other developments and in an effort to garner greater revenue from fee levied on newspapers; the list of defaulting newspaper has been put on the website for general access and information. The Council also benefited from the augmentation of its hardware capacity.

The Press Council of India has been entrusted, by the Parliament with the additional responsibility of functioning as an Appellate Authority under Section 8 (c) under the PRB Act 1867 and the Appellate Board comprising of the Chairman of the Council and another member met regularly to hear the appeals before it.

Research, Reference and Training Division

Set up in 1945, the Research, Reference and Training Division functions as an information-serving agency for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, its media units and their field offices. It serves as an information bank as well as an information feeder service to the media units to help their programming and publicity campaigns. It also studies trends in Mass Communication Media and maintains a reference and documentation service on Mass Communication. The Division provides background, reference and research material and other facilities for the use of the Ministry, its media units and others engaged in mass communication. The Division also looks after the training aspect of the Indian Information Service (IIS) officers in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC).

Apart from its regular service, the 'Diary of Events', brought out every fortnight, the Division compiles two annual reference works, one titled INDIA, an authentic work of reference on India, and the other, MASS MEDIA IN INDIA, a comprehensive publication on mass communication in the country. INDIA is simultaneously released in Hindi language under the title-BHARAT.

Reference Library : The Division has a well-stocked library with a large collection of documents on various subjects; bound volumes of select periodicals and various reports of the Ministries, Committees and Commissions. Its collection includes specialized books on subjects pertaining to journalism, public relations, advertising and audio-visual media, all prominent encyclopedia series, yearbooks and contemporary articles. The library facilities are available to accredited correspondents from both Indian and foreign Press and to government officials.

NDCMC : The NDCMC was created in 1976 as a part of the Division on the recommendation of an Expert Committee set up by the Ministry, for collecting, interpreting and disseminating information about the events and trends in Mass Media through its periodical services. The NDCMC documents all news items, articles and other information material available on mass communication. The current activities of the Centre range from collecting and documenting information, to dissemination, not only for the development of cross country mass communication but also for participation in the international information flow.

The information collected is maintained and disseminated through services like 'Current Awareness Service'-annotated index of select articles; 'Bibliography Service' - annotated subject index of articles; 'Bulletin on Films' - abstract of various developments in the film industry; 'Reference Information Service', 'Who's Who in Mass Media' - biographies of eminent media personalities; 'Honours Conferred on Mass Communicators' - details of awards conferred on Mass Communicators and 'Media Update' - diary of national and international media events.

The NDCMC also compiles and edits a reference annual Mass Media in India. It was first published in 1978. The Annual contains articles on various aspects of the mass media, information on the status of media organizations in Central Government, States and Union Territories. It also includes the general information on print and electronic media. The annual serves as a reference compendium for media practitioners, policy makers, researchers, teachers and students of journalism.

Photo Division

Photo Division, an independent media unit meant for visual support for the varied activities of the Government of India, is a subordinate officer of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the biggest production unit of its king of the country in the field of photography.

The Division is responsible for visual documentation and the preparing photographs both in Black & White and Colour initially, for both of internal and external publicity on behalf of the Government of India.

The major function of the Photo Division is to document photographically, the growth, Development and the political, economical and social changes in the country and to provide visuals (still) to the media units of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and other Central and State Government Agencies, Ministries/Departments including President Secretariat, Vice-President Secretariat, Prime Minister's Office, Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha Secretariats and Indian Missions abroad through XP Division of the Ministry of External Affairs.

External Publicity Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, DAVP and the PIB gets the major support and services provided by the Photo Division External Publicity Division of the Ministry of External Affairs takes the major chunk of its production for the external publicity of the Government of India. This includes extensive documentation of the visit of all the Heads of States/Government of Foreign countries and presentation of the albums of the documentation of these visits on the departure of VVIP's. On the other hand PIB now get the major routine coverage of the local VIP's and uses the picture taken by the Division for the day-to-day feeding to the Press through Internet. Where as DAVP depends on the complete visual support from the archives of the Division, which is developed during the last five decades for the preparation/production of various kind of Exhibition/advertising materials to the circulated amongst the large population of the country.

The Division also supplies photographs on payment both in Black & White and Colour to the non-publicity organizations and general public through its Pricing scheme.

The Division has substantially updated its laboratories and equipment for handling different king of photographic production and assignments in Black & White and Colour both in conventional system as well as the state of art Digital technology. News Photo Network for transmission of images has been installed at the office of Photo Division, at Soochna Bhawan, New Delhi and the network could be linked from all corners for photo publicity of the Government activities.

Division established a Digital Photo Library at its Headquarter at Soochna Bhawan for digital storing of the conventional images acquired by the Division time to time. Processing of the transfer of the images from the conventional photo images to the digital form and placing it to Digital Photo Library is also in progress. Images acquired by the Digital System of Photography are available off line at the moment. However, it would be available online very soon.

During the Tenth Plan Division has also acquired a high capacity server (pending trial run. Approximate one lakh images are needed in it will be connected to its website which is likely to be launched very soon.

Till date Division has been able to convert a total number of six lakhs thirty-four thousand four hundred and twenty two (636422) images (cumulative figure) till December 2006 and placed in the Cumulus System as a part of its Digitalization, Cataloguing and Archiving of images.

To keep a synergy between the other Media Units, Division has taken up various measures. To avoid the delay in sending photographs to newspaper through network, Division is now equipped to send picture to the PIB desk without much delay. It has been now using V Data System to use wireless internet facility particularly for sending images of the Prime Minister from outside Delhi. To produce excellent publicity materials, director Photo Division took various steps to take up updated documentation be it for the printing of calendar or for thematic exhibitions etc. To disseminate its expertise it also took measures to organize Workshop etc. in collaboration with Media Units and also with State Government.

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Source: India 2010 - A Reference Annual

Note: The information presently available in this section is not exhaustive. We are in the process of adding more information to this section. You can use the 'Feedback' Option to give your suggestions for further enhancement.