Press during the Second World War

During the World War 2, many Nationalist including Congress party were not in support of India's inclusion in the World War without consulting Indian people that is why in 1939 Congress Ministries in Provinces resigned to express their grievances. In such environment where oppose-oppose was the main mantra of local Media, British govt imposed severe repressive measures in the form of Defence of India rules and amendment to the Official Secrets Act, on the press during the Second World War.

Indian nationalist believed that Pen is mightier than the sword and via publication of various articles in newspapers, magazines, periodicals they continued their struggle despite the suppressive policies of the Govt of the day. In India, the history of Independence and History of Journalism are closely linked to each other and many politicians cum Journalists played a very important role in it. During second world war , Nehru through his newspaper National Herald struggled for India's freedom.

Laws and Regulations to curb freedom of press during the Second World War

During Second World War (1939-1945) Pre-Censorship was in force and Govt assumed special powers and even at a particular time publication of news related to the Indian National Congress was declared illegal.

The Defence of India Act, 1939

  • This act declared Martial Law in India and empowered the Viceroy to make rules as he deems necessary to ensure safety and security of British India.

Official Secrets Act, 1923

  • Under the provisions of the act the Magistrate could issue the search warrant anytime if he felt that there is danger to the security of the state and Journalist were to help the members of Police force with investigation regarding such offenses.
  • This act was further amended during second world war to include more repressive clauses.

Press Emergency Act, 1931

  • This act revived the powers of the Press Act of 1910 and this was also further amended during second world war, and more severe and repressive measures were included in it.

Nehru and National Herald

  • Jawaharlal Nehru launched National Herald in 1938 at Lucknow to win the independence for India and this paper also has Hindi edition called Navjivan, a name given by Gandhi himself.
  • British Govt banned this news paper in 1942 during Quit India Movement and newspaper had brief shutdown during 1940s.

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