Lahore, Saturday, February 14, 1920

The Press Act.

MR. Manilal C. Modi, Hony. Secretary to the Press Association of India, has sent us a memorandum on the hardships of the Indian Press Act which was prepared, in August last, on behalf of the Council of the Association with a view to its being circulated in England by the Press Deputation, as a part of the propaganda carried on there for the repeal of the Act. The memorandum is an excellently drawn up document, comprehensive and at the same time concise. It traces the history of the Press Law in India from the Act of 1867 down to that of 1910 which for the first time gave the executive the power of arbitrary control over all presses, newspapers, books and other publications, and explains and illustrates how entirely illusory have been the so-called safeguards of which so much was made when its measure was enacted and how with years the tendency to treat the Act as one investing the executive with a power of control over printing presses and newspapers has expanded and developed in a manner which has become a serious menace to the very existence of the Indian Press. The memorandum then goes on to speak of the considerable addition to the terrors, pains and penalties of the Act during the period of the war by the Defence of India Act and the rules made thereunder, as well as by the institution and imposition of the censorship, and finally appeals to the British Government and Democracy, who are anxious to place India on the road to freedom, to see that that road is not blocked at the very entrance. It must realise the perilous situation of the Indian Press and free it from the deadening and painful subjection to which it has been doomed for nearly a decade, so as to make it perform the noble functions legitimately pertaining to it and to subserve, as in all free countries, the noble cause of enlightenment and reform.


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