In June, 1975, Indira Gandhi's government declared a
state of emergency and suspended civil liberties. Immediately after this declaration, the government tightened its controls on the Indian mass media, especially o n the newspapers which had reputations of being free and lively. During the Summer of 1975, as Indira Gandhi became increasingly more threatened by the mounting criticisms of her government, she declared a state of emergency. Immediately she took control of the press, prohibiting their reporting of all domestic and international news. The government expelled several foreign correspondents (mainly American and British) and withdrew accreditation from more than 40 Indian reporters who normally covered the capital. In recent years, this has probably been the most important development in the life of the Indian press. Indira Gandhi's government use the "security of the state" and "promotion of disaffection" as its defense for imposing strict control on the press. And with the airwaves already under government ownership, Indira G a n d h i successfully controlled the mass communication system in India for over a year and a half.
During censorship, most of the nation's domestic dailies, however, gave u p the battle for press frcedom. Their pages were "filled with fawning accounts of national events,flatteringpictures ofGandhiand her ambitious son, and not coincidentally, lucrative government a d v e r t i ~ i n g . " But two tough, prominent publishers of English- ~
language dailies, The Indian Express a n d The Statesman, fought courageously against Indira Gandhi's opposition of the Indian press. Despite some bold fights and stubborn stands taken u p by these publishers, its was quite clear that Indirr Gandhi had a s strong a grip on the Indian press as she had on Indian politics, a t least during the government-imposed emergency.
India, a nation which had always cherished democratic principles a n d had admired Mahatma Gandhi's...