Indian Press Act 1910
The Indian Press Act was rolled out to curtail the progress of the Swadeshi movement. This act provided better control of the press and resurrected the worst aspect of the Vernacular Press Act. The growing dissatisfaction among the educated upper-middle class was spreading ideas that broad the people against the government. Therefore, the British government feared the growing satisfaction among the people.
The government attentively suppressed the freedom of the press and other vital liberties through legal means since the disturbance of 1857. The Indian Press Act was one of the most undemocratic acts enacted by the British in India.
The attitude of the British government towards the Indian Press changed with the passage of time. Various Press Laws were enacted in an attempt to restrict the anti-British tone of the Indian press from 1908 to 1935.
The renewal of political terrorism compelled the British to take a hardline against Indian nationalists.
Load Ridley, the Home member, enacted a bill to prohibit the distribution of anti-government literature on February 4, 1910.
Lord Minto, second Viceroy of India introduced the Indian Press Act on February 9, 1910.
- The Indian press Act was enacted in British India in 1910. This act imposed rigorous censorship on all types of publications.
- Leading tools of control imposed by the Indian Press Act were financial securities; they could be impounded if any of the legislation’s extraordinarily broad provisions were broken.
- As per the magistrate’s discretion, Proprietors were needed to deposit between 500 to 5000 rupees.
- Customs and postal authorities were given the power to detain and investigate the suspected substance.
- Section 12(1) of the Indian Press Act authorised the local government to issue warrants against any newspaper or book containing seditious matters which were to be fined to his majestic majesty.
- This act banned the publication of a large amount of nationalist press and political literature.
The implication of the Indian Press Act
These acts were defined as press offences in this bill
-Attempts to incite murder or anarchical outrages
-To temper with the loyalty of the army or Navy
-To excite racial, class and religious animosity, hatred and contempt of the government or a native prince -To incite criminal intimidation and interference with law and order
-To intimidate public servants with threats of injury.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak was sentenced to 6 years in Mandalay as he was prosecuted for sedition.
- The Law member of the Government of India Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru was in charge of a committee to examine the working of the Indian Press in 1910. The Act was repealed on the recommendation of the committee.
- Later Lord Reading put an end to the Indian Press Act of 1910.
The issue of press freedom became intertwined with nationalist politics from the turn of the 20th century forward.
The press acts and restrictions apparently aimed at suppressing revolutionary and seditious activities had a broader scope than even harsh the Indian Penal Code.