Ghani Rahman, Babar Hussain Shah and Saqib Riaz

Mr Ghani Rahman is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mass Communication at the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Islamabad.

Dr Babar Hussain Shah is Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication at the AIOU, Islamabad.

Dr Saqib Riaz is Associate Professor and Chairman Department of Mass Communication at the AIOU, Islamabad.

DOI: http://DOI Number

Keywords: The company, authoritarian theory, conflict theory, sociological framework


This paper briefly reviews press-government relations during the East India Company’s Rule (1600-1857) in South Asia. The paper begins with a short background on the beginning of the press in pre-colonial India. It examines the nature and evolution of the press during the Company’s Raj and its relations with successive viceroys and other colonial rulers. The paper also reviews tactics of the colonial rulers to suppress the vernacular press. Under the authoritarian concept of the press and sociological perspective of conflict theory a historical descriptive, and analythical approach has been adopted in this paper to review relevant literature and derive conclusions. The analysis revealed that the press in the subcontinent emerged owing to Britain’s colonial ambitions to collect information about rival powers, Christian preachers, and dissenting employees Company. The last was the prime reason that led to an adversarial relationship between the press and the regime in India from the very beginning. Initial press criticism of the regime was justifiable but also very scandalous. The Muslim press was mainly targeted on the eve of the 1857’s War of Independence. Regime’s ties with a few newspapers also remained cordial as some leaflets even supported the suppression of the native people and the press in 1857. Some anti-press laws, i.e., the Censorship of Press Act (1799), the Licensing Act (1823), the Press Act (1835), and the most draconian law, the Gagging Act (1857) were also enforced during the Company’s regime.

First Published

March 25, 2019

How to Cite

Ghani Rahman Babar Hussain Shah and Saqib Riaz, “Press-Government Relations in the Subcontinent during the East India Company’s Era,”Regional Studies 37, no.1 (Spring 2019): 62-91,


Volume 37, Issue 1