Q. Consider the following statements about the development of press in India:
1. Lord Mayo was known as the liberator of Indian Press.
2. The vernacular act of 1878 was also known as gagging act.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

[A] 1 only

[B] 2 only

[C] Both 1 and 2

[D] Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B

Press Act of 1835 or Metcalfe ActMetcalfe (governor-general—1835-36) repealed the obnoxious 1823 ordinance and earned the epithet, “liberator of the Indian press”.  

  • The new Press Act (1835) required a printer/publisher to give a precise account of premises of a publication and cease functioning, if required by a similar declaration.  
  • The result of a liberal press policy was a rapid growth of newspapers. 

The Vernacular Press Act (VPA), 1878 was designed to ‘better control’ the vernacular press and effectively punish and repress seditious writing. 

  • The Act came to be nicknamed “the gagging Act”. The worst features of this Act were—(i) discrimination between English and vernacular press, (ii) no right of appeal. 
  • Under VPA, proceedings were instituted against Som Prakash, Bharat Mihir, Dacca Prakash and Samachar. 

Source: Spectrum’s A Brief History of Modern India.