Home Essay/Articles ESSAY : Role of Newspapers
ESSAY : Role of Newspapers
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 10:40


Role of Newspapers


“Newspapers is today regarded as a powerful source of knowledge, a vigorous critic of government actions, a social reformer, drawing the attention of public towards the maladies and abuses prevalent in the society, as the champion of freedom, justice, as the best tool of communication and so exercise a tremendous influence on the minds of public.”

Through Newspaper one can enlighten oneself with all kinds of subjects whether relating to Economics, Finance, Administration, Science, Space, Information Technology, Commerce, Sports or relating to the social problems facing our country or the world. “A careful and inquisitive under of a few good newspapers can learn much more than the most scholars learn in great libraries”, said an eminent writer. Newspapers commands such an educative value that it can mould the public opinion, it can change the attitude of the people, it can force the rulers to amend in their policy making and force them to enact some laws, banning some social evils prevalent in the society.”

“The pen is mightier than the sword”. – Lord Qxjord

Newspaper does not have brutal force of a sword, but it plays on the minds of the people and so more effective, mightier than the swords.

The beginning of the newspaper, as we know today, were in the form of newsletter news books first published in 1400s. the earliest of these newsletter often called courants, occurrents or intelligencers, were published in Europe’s commercial centre’s.  they simply contained business news and news of other public events for business community.

Official news sheets began to appear during the late 1500s. then came the written notes, were pasted in public places in Venice, which could be read on payment of a coin, known as the Gazzetta. The first printed news sheet seems to have been the Avisa Relation Oder Zelilung, published regularly on weekly basis from 1609 in Germany.

The weekly Frankfurter Journal of Germany is generally regarded as the world’s first real newspaper founded by Egenolphy Emmel in 1615. The leipziger Zeitung was the first newspaper started on dialy basis. It was first started on weekly basis and soon became the first daily journal in the world in 1660.

The Wiener Zeitung is the world’s oldest newspaper still in existence, published in Veinna Austria in 1703. Viedomosti, the first Russian newspaper, was began in 1702, and the Daily Courant was the first daily newspaper published in U.K.. The Indian Word was India’s first important newspaper.

During mid 1800’s the newspapers were able to cover news across the world more fast after the invention of electric telegraph and the introduction of international cables.

Since 1960’s many newspapers have modernized their facilities by installing computerized word processing and lay out system. Today many newspapers offer electronic newspapers are called on line newspapers. With the flashing of news on television, became very common, now newspapers have started covering many aspects, like feature on science, general knowledge, stories, and analytical process on various current affairs. Now the newspapers have become not only a source of news but also source of knowledge in various fields and subjects.

The importance of newspapers is well described by Mr. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the America Declaration of Independence in the following words “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”.

Newspapers play very important and crucial role in enlightening and educating the people. During the British regime in India, the newspapers played very explosive role to awaken the Indian mass from their slumber and sloth, made them conscience to their right of liberty, right of self-government. The nationalists through their newspapers, ignited the full resentments. The Indigo revolt by peasants in Bengal was well supported by the “Hindu Patriot” the mouth piece of Harish Chandra Mukherjee and by the “Bengalee” of Surendra Nath Bannerjee. Similarly other newspaper and journals during that period like Amrit Bazar Patrika, Kesri Voice of India, Indian Mirror, Young India, Yugantar, effectively helped in breeding sense of self respect, nationalism, rights of freedom, created hatred against the excesses and injustice casued by the British rule. Such was an impact of newspapers during the period that British Government came out with suppressive acts to curb the freedom of press.

In present era of I.T. revolution, globalization and liberalization, newspapers role have further strengthened and become wide spread. It is the cheapest mode of communication and source of world’s knowledge and even today it plays a role of critical opposition, necessary for the success of democracy. Newspaper is called fourth estate of democracy. Newspapers have exposed number of corrupt practices, officials, hidden deals, thus putting a check on the cancer in the form of corruptions in the society. Today newspapers play very emphatic role in awakening the people against many evils prevailed in the society, like child marriage, illiteracy among the girls, killing of girl child, dowry, sexual harassment of women etc. thus plays role of a reformist.

In a democracy, newspaper can enlighten the people in the matter of their rights and liberties, can check the bureaucrats misusing their position and authority. Many newspapers have started columns like help desk which help the individual sufferers solve their problems by highlighting their grievances and problems. Newspapers have also become very important from the point of view of students for whom the question papers, guess papers for academic and competitive exams are being supplied through the newspapers.

During election period, the newspaper play very important role by publishing the bio-data of candidates, merits, demerits of the candidates, criminal cases filed against the candidates etc. which makes the general people aware about the candidate, to whom they are planning to vote.

India is a developing nation, where 70% of the population live in villages, where the facilities of TV, internet and other menas of communications are beyond the reach of a common man so the newspapers are the only source of ‘news’ and knowledge of common mass. It is from the newspapers, the villagers are enlightened to the political, social, economic events happening in our country and throughout the world.

Abuses of Newspaper:

The newspapers has so far travelled a long journey of about 350 years, yet it is no regarded a source of perfectly authentic news or information. Prejudiced or willful perversion of news, or favoritism to a particular group of party have seen in the news published in several newspapers thus creates a doubt of the truthfulness of the news. Many capitalists hold some newspapers, many news published in such newspaper are not impartial and thus creates biased attitude and induces the mass to believe something wrong. In the name of freedom of press, some newspapers, blackmail the innocent corporate, public in their own interests. And where there is no freedom of press then newspapers become as tools of propaganda in the hands of governments. The press then is nothing more than a pile of lies.

But in spite of all the weaknesses of journalism, newspapers, it can well be concluded, that if honestly seen, impartially worked, it is one of the potential tools to enlighten the people, to check the wrongs done by the government, to make the people aware to their rights, an impartial and fearless ‘press’ is the basic requirement for success of a democracy.