Histroy of Orissa Journalism
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Histroy of Orissa Journalism

In 1917 another Oriya weekly paper 'Samaj Mitra' was published from Cuttack. During the same period late Gopal Chandra Praharaj edited "Satya Samachar", Utkal Gourab Madhu Sudan edited 'The Oriya' and Dibyaprasanna Roy Choudhury edited 'Navya Bharat' from Cuttack. Another weekly 'Swaraj' which became a daily in 1932 was
also published in 1921-22 from Cuttack.

In 1928 Sashi Bhusan Rath took another bold step and started the Oriya Daily 'Dainik Asha' from Berhampur on the Oriya New Years Day (Mesha Sankranti). This was really a great day for the people of Orissa and for the press of Orissa. With the publication of Dainik Asha many public spirited youngmen got the opportunity to receive the practical training in daily newspaper work and journalism. After the publication of ''Dainik Asha' Sashi Bhusan also published an English weekly, 'The East Coast'. In 1930 an Oriya newspaper "Prabhat" was also published from  Cuttack.

On 5th May, 1933 the first English daily of the Province 'The New Orissa' made its appearance from the Asha Press of Berhampur under the Editorship of Sashi Bhusan ably
assisted by Mr. Sharma and Mr. K.N. Acharya who came from Madras. It may not be out of place to mention here that for the proper growth and development of Oriya journalism and development of language and literature, necessity for the invention of Oriya type-writer was greatly felt and a brother of Sashi Bhusan late Ranganath Mahapatra of Surada, Ganjam invented the first Oriya type-writer in early forties. The Oriya type-writers were manufactured in Germany and were put to use in some of the offices soon after the formation of the separate Orissa Province on 1st April,

During the time of Second World War in 1942, Daily Asha changed hands with its sister publication the English daily 'New Orissa' which was purchased by a businessman of Calcutta, Mr. M.L. Jajodia who later settled down at Cuttack. These two papers gave effective support to war efforts of the British Government and were also recipients of Government's aid. Both were closed down in 1951 marking the end of a great chapter of the pre-independence era journalism in Orissa. However, the "Dainik Asha" resumed publication from Berhampur being controlled by a "Trust" set up by late Brindavan Nayak in the Seventies.

"Samaj", the Oriya Daily of Cuttack now edited by Madam Manorama Mahapatra was founded by late Pandit Gopabandhu Das as a weekly in  1919 to support the cause of freedom struggle of the country. Pandit Das continued his relentless struggle against the British rulers through the columns of the paper and never yielded to any pressure and temptations of the British Government. In 1931 it was made daily by Pandit Nilakantha Das, Pt. Godavarish Mishra, Pt. Lingaraj Mishra and others. But Pandit Gopabandhu was not there to see this eventful beginning of the new life of "Samaj".
During the world war Pandit Nilakantha started an Oriya daily called "Navarat" to support the Ministry and the war efforts of the government. He was also having a monthly magazine 'Nava Bharat'. This paper continued as long as it enjoyed official support and after the fall of the Ministry and the end of war it closed down. During this period another Oriya paper named 'Lok Mata' also came into existence, but it disappeared after a short period.

In the early pre-independence period two English weeklies, 'The Orissa First' edited by Mr. K.N. Acharya and 'Observer' by Mr. M.S. Mahanty, and an Oriya Weekly named Janata by Surendra Mohanty published from Cuttack had influenced public opinions in their own respective ways. Mr. K.N. Acharya's 'Orissa First ' commanded respect and prestige in official and enlightened circles of the State. Another Oriya monthly magazine which commanded great influence through out the State for its critical writings was 'Niakhunta'. This was first started in 1938 from Berhampur by late Godavarish Mahapatra and later shifted to Cuttack. 'Krusak', another Oriya weekly also started its publication in 1938 from Cuttack under editorship of Sarangdhar Das.

The Post-Independence Era
In the Post-Independence Era journalism in Orissa assumed new attitude and direction. It has attracted many ambitious youngmen who accepted journalism as avenue for employment. Dr. H.K. Mahatab's "Prajatantra" offered this opportunity to employment seekers in journalism and also to the young aspirants for building political careers. Dr. Mahatab's 'Prajatantra' which first started publication as a weekly from Balasore on 2.10.1923. Its re-appearance on the 8th August, 1947 as an Oriya Daily with renewed vigour and strength under the fostering care of Dr.Mahatab who was the first premier of the State on the eve of the transfer of power and also became Chief Minister after independence. As a matter of fact. "Prajatantra" was the training centre for many journalists who occupied important positions one politics and in public life. Another sister paper of the Prajatantra, English Daily, "The Eastern Times" was also published on the 1st of April 1948. The 'Amrit Bazar Patrika' of Calcutta  published an edition from Cuttack from the Tulasipur residence of Mr. Biju Patnaik. But it also discontinued its publication after two years.

'Matrubhumi' which was started as a weekly in 1947 was made a Daily by its founder Editor Mr. Balakrushna Kar in 1951 on the eve of First General Election in 1952 with the financial help received from Maharaja of Balangir Patna, late R.N. Singh Deo.  In 1956 an Oriya Daily called 'Ganatantra' owing its political allegiance to the opposition Ganatantra Parishad" of the ex-Garhjat rulers of Orissa was published by the Gana Prakasani Trust Board. This paper continued for about five years. In 1960 another important Oriya Daily "Kalinga" was published by Mr. Biju Patnaim, the then Congress leader of Orissa. It was controlled through a trust. This paper went out of existence after 1967 General Elections during the time of "Swatantra-Jana Congress" Coalition Ministry. On 1st April 1966 another  Oriya Daily "The Janasakti" made its appearance and continued for about four years. This paper owed its existence to Mr. Biren Mitra, ex-Chief Minister of Orissa. During its short span of existence it had been able to gain popular support and good will of the people. After the Fourth General Election another Oriya daily the "Swarajya" owing its full allegiance to the Swatantra Party was published from Bhubaneswar under the working editorship of Mr. Rama Prasad Sinha, a well-known freedom fighter, writer and a veteran journalist. This paper was controlled by the ex-Maharaja of Balangir Patna, late R.N. Singh Deo as the Chairman of a new Trust Board.

On 24th November 1974 a new Oriya Daily "Dharitri" was added to the family of the Daily Newspapers of Orissa published ownership of under the Madam Nandini Satapathy a former Chief Minister of Orissa and members of her family. Mr. Tathagata Satapathy is its editor now. This was first published by Smt. Chandrika Mahapatra on behalf of "Samajwadi Society. A new English Daily the "News of the World" was also published from Cuttack by an enterprising press worker in 1976 under his managing editorship.

If the first hand-written newspaper is believed to be published in Orissa, it can be ascribed that the state of Orissa heralded the cult of journalism. The actual growth of Oriya newspapers, however, can be attributed to strong political affiliations of the respective editors concerned. Due to some reasons or other, politicians took the shelter of newspapers and started one such media under their patronage and control apparently for a say on bureaucracy and the government. As per the estimate nearly eight prominent Oriya newspapers have been started or promoted by politicians, especially in the rank of Chief Ministers. These are working as their mouthpiece for the own propaganda of the concerned political party.

But the post-liberalisation era is the best period for the development of press in Orissa, as many English press and Electronic media started their venture in Orissa. In this period English newspaper like The New Indian Express, The Times Of India, The Statesman, ThePioneer, The Telegarph, The Hindustan Times, and The Asian Age has open their publication from Orissa. These national newspapers are played a very important role for the positive image of our state in the national and international map. Another notable development in Orissa’s press in this time is the launching of ETV Oriya.  It not only transformed the socio-cultural make over of the state but also change the culture of media in Orissa.


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