The Timeline of Formation of the Indian Newspaper Society
October 11, 1927: The India, Burma, and Ceylon Newspapers’ Committee came into existence in London.
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October 4, 1935: This London-based society’s name was changed to the Indian and Eastern Newspaper Society (IENS). It represented the newspapers, magazines, reviews, and other journals published in India, Burma, Ceylon, and other Asian countries.
February 27, 1939: The Indian and Eastern Newspaper Society, a coordinating body comprising the proprietors of newspapers, was established to promote the common interests of newspapers in India, Burma, and Ceylon and to deal with the various day-to-day problems in newspaper production.
Mr. Arthur Moore, Editor of the Statesman, was the first chairman of the committee, with the following newspapers as founding members:
- Bombay Chronicle
- The Times of India
- The Rangoon Gazette
- The Amrita Bazar Patrika
- The Hindustan Times
- The Hindustan Standard
- The Pioneer
- The Leader
- The Tribune
- The Civil and Military Gazette
- The Hindu
- The Madras Mail
- The Statesman
October 12, 1951: With the separation of Burma and Ceylon after independence, the title of the society necessitated a change. Therefore, the word ‘Eastern’ was deleted, and the society acquired its present name, i.e., the Indian Newspaper Society (INS). It was registered under the Companies Act of 1913.
The society is also registered under Section 25 of the Income Tax Act of 1961 as a charitable institution. It is classified as a non-government company registered with the Registrar of Companies, Delhi. Their state of registration is Delhi. Its permanent office is at Rafi Marg in New Delhi.
Mr. K. Raja Prasad Reddy of Sakshi News Paper Publication is the president of INS for 2022-23.
Membership of the Indian Newspaper Society
Since the beginning, it has been agreed that daily newspapers, weekly reviews, and other periodicals will pay the same membership and annual subscription fees. The first entrance fee for membership was 100 rupees, and the annual membership subscription was 1000 rupees.
The present annual membership subscription, which was revised in 2016-17, is as follows:
- (Circulation below 20,000 copies) Rs. 7,500
- (Circulation between 20,001 and 50,000 copies) Rs. 15,000
- (Circulation between 50,001 and 1,00000 copies) Rs. 25,000
- (Circulation Between 1,00,001 and 5,00,000 copies) Rs. 50,000
- (Circulation above 5,00,000 copies) Rs. 1,00,000
Primarily at the initiative of the Indian Newspaper Society, an important decision was taken to transfer the ownership of the Associated Press (AP) to newspapers in India. In October 1946, it was decided to form a new company, the Press Trust of India (PTI), as an independent news agency.
The Objectives Of Indian Newspaper Society
- Promote and protect its members’ business interests incidental to publishing and take appropriate action in respect of such businesses as are affected by Legislatures, Governments, Law Courts, Municipal and local bodies, and commercial or non-commercial Associations or Organizations.
- To gather and share information on all business-related matters for its members.
- To encourage cooperation in all matters impacting members’ business interests.
- To host periodic member conferences to discuss and decide on business issues.
- Making rules, regulations, and bylaws to govern its members’ conduct in conformity with Society’s decisions, providing penalties for noncompliance, and determining infringement.
- A permanent secretariat in India to monitor members’ commercial interests and allow constant information and view exchange.
- To invest and manage the Society’s assets as determined by the Committee and to open Current or Fixed Deposit Accounts with banks or government securities as approved by the Committee.
- To join or cooperate with any other Association whose goals are comparable to the Society’s.
- Member subscriptions and other contributions for the Society’s ongoing and additional expenses.
- Arbitrate Society members’ general or special disagreements.
- To award pensions, gratuities, allowances, bonuses, and other payments to Society personnel as deemed fit, whether or not they have a legal claim to them.
- At the Society’s discretion, borrow, raise, or secure funds for its objectives.
- The Society may lawfully execute any Trust that supports its goals.
- To perform or join in doing all other actions conducive or incidental to the accomplishing of the above goals or to the business interests of newspapers and periodicals in general or the Society or any of its members in particular.
Publications and Advertising Agencies Disputes
One of the Society’s main functions is to act as an intermediary for member publications and approved advertising agencies so that the society can keep an eye on how much money the agencies pay for the publications. A process known as Monthly Review Verification (MRV) makes this possible. Member publications must file MRV returns every month that show the amounts of money they still owe agencies after the credit period has ended. Computerized systems collect this data and focus on agencies that are way behind on their payments, which are then closely watched and reviewed. Actions are taken to ensure that publications get their dues, depending upon the arrears position of the agencies under monitoring.
The monitoring system through MRV has been largely instrumental in keeping the arrears of agencies under check. The system is being constantly refined with the update of software.
Both publications and agencies are encouraged to resolve their disputes mutually, and society does not intervene in such matters.
Newsprint is the lifeline of the newspaper industry. The newsprint industry comes under the jurisdiction of different ministries of the Central Government, including the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Newsprint Control Orders of 1962 dealt with various issues, including price, import restrictions on the number of pages that a newspaper can print, etc. Apart from the Ministries, the newspaper industry also had to deal with several agencies, like the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI), State Trading Corporation (STC), Controller of Imports and Exports, etc. The Indian Newspaper Society constantly works for the smooth conduct of business on behalf of its members.
Freedom of the Press and Pressmen
Society has been very careful to protect the freedom of the press, bringing up specific cases with the relevant authorities, calling for an instant investigation, and taking corrective action. Society has always been on alert for problems like attacks on newspaper staff and businesses by bad people and attempts, sometimes by powerful people, to limit the freedom of the press and pressmen.
The recently proposed IT Rules amendment of April 2023 seeks to empower the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) to constitute a fact-checking unit that will ascertain what is “fake, false, or misleading” concerning “any business of the Central Government.”. It is also proposed to have the authority to issue instructions to intermediaries, including social media platforms, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and other service providers, not to host such content or remove it. The society has condemned the proposal and termed it arbitrary and against the principle of natural justice, which will lead to press censorship and violate the principle of freedom of expression.
The Indian Newspaper Society worked with the Department of Commerce to prevent the piracy of newspaper titles. As a result, newspapers were entitled to apply for registration of their titles as trademarks under the Trade Marks Act.
Indian Newspaper Society Press Handbook
The Indian Newspaper Society also periodically releases a press handbook. The 2019-2020 edition contains detailed particulars of member publications, accredited advertising agencies, important newspapers, and media organizations, press correspondents accredited to the Government of India, representatives of foreign newspapers and news agencies in India, leading advertising agencies associations abroad, institutions offering journalism and mass communication training in India and abroad, etc.
Print Publication Circulation Figures and Readership Survey
At its first Annual General Meeting in 1939, the Indian Newspaper Society approved the creation of an Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) in principle. However, after independence, ABC was formally established as an independent body authenticating the circulation figures of newspapers and periodicals in India.
Since 1956, the society has associated itself with conducting an Indian readership survey in collaboration with the ABC on a pan-India basis.
Indian Newspaper Society and Bureau of Outreach & Communication (BOC) [ex. DAVP]
Advertising revenue is the major source of income for newspapers. The government and its agencies constitute a major segment of advertisers. Advertisements emanating from Central Government Ministries, Departments, and other organizations are routed through the Director General, BOC.
Central government advertising through DAVP is not limited to the government’s own publicity budget. It also handles ad campaigns for PSUs, nationalized banks, and other autonomous bodies. DAVP rates are much lower than the card rates of the newspaper establishments. This has been another area of constant concern for society.
In 1978, Statesman & Ananda Bazar Patrika filed a writ petition in the Calcutta High Court challenging the authority of the DAVP and government on advertising rates. The High Court held that the Central Government cannot determine the commercial advertisement rate of newspapers, and such a control is an infringement of the freedom of the press or discriminatory, offending Article 14 of the Constitution. However, this matter is still far from over, as it gives the government significant power to keep print publications in control as per their wish.