Press Act

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The Press Act of 1910 was legislation promulgated in British India imposing strict censorship on all kinds of publications. The measure was brought into effect to curtail an emerging Indian independence movement, especially with the outbreak of World War I. Herbert Hope Risley, in 1907, declared, "We are overwhelmed with a mass of heterogeneous material, some of it misguided, some of it frankly seditious," in response to a deluge of imagery associated with the Cow Protection Movement. These concerns led him to draft the major substance of the 1910 Press Act.[1]


The main instruments of control imposed by the Press Act were financial securities which were vulnerable to confiscation in the event of any breach of the exceptionally wide provisions of the legislation.[1] Proprietors being obliged to deposit 500 to 5000 Rupees as the Magistrate saw fit. Customs and postal officers were given authority to detain and examine suspected matter, and local governments were authorized to declare forfeit any newspaper, book, or document, or empower the police to search and seize the same.

The bill defined press offences as attempts to incite murder or anarchical outrages, to tamper with the loyalty of the Army or the Navy, to excite racial, class and religious animosity and hatred and contempt of the Government or a native prince, to incite criminal intimidation and interference with law and order, and to intimidate public servants with threats of injury.[2]

Later, this act was repealed by Lord Reading (1921-1926).


  1. ^ a b Mazzarella, William; Kaur, Raminder, eds. (2009). Censorship in South Asia : cultural regulation from sedition to seduction ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-253-35335-1. 
  2. ^ "Sedition in India - Government Control of the Press". The Glasgow Herald. 5 February 1910.