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Calcutta Gazette


Calcutta Gazette a newspaper, circulating government advertisements, was first published on 4 March 1784. It was not a government publication. The Calcutta Gazette owed its origin and initial management to Francis Gladwin, an orientalist and an officer of the east india company. However, though a private publication, it later became the sole medium for making public advertisements. Although initially these advertisements were charged for, the proprietor later on undertook to publish these free of charges when the government agreed to provide the Gazette with necessary paper for publication and also made its circulation by post free of charge. This privilege, however, was withdrawn in 1787. The government also withdraw its commitment for its postal circulation free. But even then, the Calcutta Gazette continued to publish public advertisements and government notifications without any charge on government as before.

In January 1787, Francis Gladwin relinquished his proprietorship of the newspaper in favour of three civilians of the company - Arthur Muir, Herbert H. Harrington and Edmond Morris. The monopoly nature of the paper ensured its extensive circulation and became over time an advertising paper predominantly.

However, the period of success of the Calcutta Gazette did not continue for long owing to the launching of another competing newspaper, the Government Gazette, in June 1815, by the Bengal Military Orphan Society. The Government Gazette was made the sole organ for publishing all public advertisements and notifications. Many private advertisers also left the Calcutta Gazette. This again caused retrenchment of staff resulting in labour problems culminating in a workers' strike. The financial problems became so acute that in June 1818 the proprietors sold off the newspaper to one Mr. Heatly, owner of the Calcutta Morning Post. Heatly, however, wound off all publications by a notification appearing on 29 September 1818 in favour of the Calcutta Journal, a new newspaper, launched by one James Silk Buckingham. [Abhijit Dutta]