Press and Emergency

According to a survey conducted by the Freedom House globally, the place in the freedom of the press of India, which was third in the beginning of the seventies, was reduced to 34thin 1975 - 1977. The New York Times wrote in a report on December 28, 1975 that due to the harsh curb on the press in India, there is a big blow to the democratic society. 

· In the month of March 1975 countrywide movement and revolt started to take place against the policies of government. On 5June a mass protest was organised in Kolkata under the leadership of Jaiprakash Narayan. The movement saw the support from press, though a communist mouthpiece Janshakti was against this national movement and agitation. (Rakesh Sinha, Aapatkaal Mein Patrakarita, p. 105) 

· On 25 June, 1975 a mass rally was organised in Ramlila Maidan. Jaiprakash Narayan condemned the oppression against the peaceful agitators and termed it as unethical and illegal. He further said you (Police)should not consider anyone's wrong order, it is written in the Army and police act that abiding by illegal, inappropriate and unethical orders is a punishable offense. By making this part the basis of his speech, the government imposed Emergency on the country.(Shailendra Nath Srivastava,Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan, p. 158) 

· Smaller magazines and papers which were representing independent thoughts had to face the wrath of the state and were closed during emergency.W.H Morris Jones writes, “The Indian press suffered the major setback during emergency.”(See, attachment 1) 

· As a result of the censorship order, it was prohibited to publish news, feedback, rumours or any report related to internal security laws or any action taken under M.I.S.A, without the permission of the official. Under the different rules, no news, report or response related to the location and status of the prisoners and family planning cannot be published under emergency.(Soli Sorabjee, The Emergency, censorship and Press In India, p.9) 

· RSS inspired newspapers and magazines played a major role during emergency. This was the reasons many such magazines and newspapers had to face the wrath of the government. Few of such titles are Panchajanya, Organiser, Motherland, Tarun Bharat, Vivek, Vikram, Rashtradharm,Yugdharm. The editor of Motherland and Organiser K.R Malkani was the first reporter arrested during emergency and remained in jail till the end of emergency.(Rakesh Sinha,Raajneetik Patrakarita, p. 108) 

· Malkni writes, “Motherland was the only newspaper in the country which in its edition published on 26June not only informed people about emergency but also about arrest and protest at national level against emergency. He further writes that the electricity of the motherland office situated at Jhansi road,Jhandewalan, New Delhi,was cut though there was light at neighbouring office ‘Janyug’,the communist mouthpiece.(K.R Malkani, The midnight Knock, p. 1) 

· Total 253 reporters were sent to jail under M.I.S.A. (Rakesh Sinha, Raajneetik Patrakarita, p. 109)

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