The People Vs Emergency: What steps did Indira Gandhi take to subjugate the Press?
Along with the declaration of Emergency, Mrs Indira Gandhi relieved I K Gujral of the charge of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and gave it to Vidya Charan Shukla. She indicated that this ministry would be mainly responsible for controlling the situation during the Emergency and maintaining a favourable atmosphere. VC Shukla also immediately started tightening the grip on all information and propaganda media.
At first, he included some officers of his own choice into his ministry and then began to show what he was capable of. Mrs Gandhi also took a personal interest in determining and carrying out the policies of this ministry.
In the Cabinet meeting on June 26, 1975, she personally outlined a comprehensive policy regarding the media. The meeting considered the following five main steps:
1. The Press Council should be dissolved
2. All news agencies (PTI, UNI, Hindusthan Samachar and Samachar Bharati) should be amalgamated
3. The advertisement policy should be reviewed
4. Accommodation facilities given to dissenting journalists should be revoked
4. Foreign correspondents not accepting Government policies should be sent back
It was also agreed to impose strict censorship all over the country. A suggestion was also thrown up that an advisory council of some tame editors be set up to advise the information and broadcasting ministry in implementing censorship. The meeting also accepted the proposal for pre-censorship and the requisite power for the purpose acquired by issuing an ordinance under Section 48 of DIR, 1971. But it was not possible to set up a censorship network all over the country right away. At least a couple of days were required for it. So it was decided that so long as censorship was not effective other means should be used to stop the publication of newspaper and news of the arrest of the leaders, opposition demonstrations etc, prevented from reaching the people
(Source: The People Vs Emergency: A Saga of Struggle)