Introduction to Assamese News Media
Print media plays an unparalleled role in shaping the cultural, educational, and political spheres of a region. It has not been different for Assam either. With a history of over 170 years, the state’s newspaper industry has significantly contributed to influencing the emergence of Assam as one of the most diverse and enriched states of India.
The journey of the Assamese print media started in the hands of Nathan Brown, an American Baptist missionary who took up the project of publishing a periodical named Arunodoy. A series of brochures containing the merits of Christianity and lauding the biblical tales were published with an aim of religious conversion. Starting from 1846, the periodical came out at regular intervals for a span of 36 years. Needless to say, Arunodoy played its role quite efficiently in laying the foundation for Assamese print culture.
Assam Mihir, the first known weekly newspaper in the Assamese language, made its debut in the year of 1872. It was followed by Batori, a daily newspaper which started its journey as a weekly journal in 1929 and then renamed itself to Dainik Batori in 1935 as it became a daily newspaper of Assam.
In general, the pre-independence era bore witness to the birth of many regional and national newspapers. As the struggle against the British intensified, newspapers and journals turned out to be the most efficient way of venting grievances against the British Government and building public opinions in political matters. Though many of these journals were shortlived, they carried out the prime task of ushering in a new field in the history of Assam— Assamese Journalism.
In 1946, Assam had its second daily newspaper, Dainik Assamiya, which, like many others could not withstand the wrath of time and came to an eventual halt after two years. Debkanta Barua, the publisher of the daily started another paper called Natun Axomiya in the year of 1949. This time, however, it saw the light of success as the daily kickstarted a new journey, not only for itself but also for the whole Assamese news media.
If compared to the nearby region of Bengal and other provinces, Assam had relatively low numbers of publications, the lack of financial support, and rampant illiteracy being two of its major reasons. However, situations have changed a great deal in the last few decades. Eventually, the people of Assam have realized the importance of regional media and since then there has been active participation to have an array of newspapers, journals, and dailies published in the Assamese.
To name a few, Dainik Ahom, Aagir Batori, Dainik Janmabhumi, Aji, Ajir Ahom, and Dainik Agradot are some of the important Assamese-language dailies. On the other hand, The Assam Tribune, The Sentinel, and The North-East Times are among the popular English daily newspapers. Apart from these, there is a significant number of Bengali dailies in circulation in the region, such as Dainik Jugasankha, Gati, Silchar Times, and so on.
That said, as a whole, the print media industry is steadily growing in Assam, both in terms of readership and circulation. In this article, we present a comprehensive list of the current newspapers and news channels in Assam, dividing them into the following categories:
A. Assamese Newspapers and News Sites
B. English Newspapers in Assam
C. Bangla Newspapers in Assam
D. Hindi Newspapers in Assam
E. News Channels in Assam
A. Assamese Newspapers and News Sites
By far, the Assamese-language newspapers are the most popular in Assam, with several Assamese newspapers and news sites currently in publication. Usually, these focus on regional issues and news, while covering a fair share of national and international news. In this section, we outline some of the major Assamese newspapers that are currently being circulated and read in Assam.
Established in the year of 1995, Axomiya Pratidin is one of the leading newspapers with four different editions published from Guwahati, Bongaigaon, Dibrugarh, and North Lakhimpur. Apart from being the largest circulated Assamese daily, it also publishes periodicals and magazines like Nandini and Sadini Xatxori.
In the year of 2008, the daily reached its peak of success by winning the award for Outstanding Contribution of Vernacular Daily (ILNA). Jayanta Baruah, the owner of the company, was conferred the honour by the then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
That year also saw the inclusion of Axomiya Protidin in the LIMCA book of records as one of the most highly circulated newspapers of India. Its huge popularity has made it the only newspaper from the state of Assam to compete with the other national and regional newspapers like Dainik Bhaskar, Anandabajar Patrika and The Times Of India.
Headquartered in Guwahati, the daily has a team of efficient journalists and employees under the leadership of Jatin Choudhury and Nitya Bora, the editor and the publisher, respectively.
The newspaper’s coverage includes regional news, especially on Guwahati, national news, and international news on sports, business, and education. With mobile apps and social media, the publication also has a substantial online presence.
Launched on 4th March 2011, Niyomiya Barta is an Assamese-language daily published and run by Pride East Entertainment Private Limited. Along with its Guwahati headquarters, the daily is also published from Dibrugarh, Bishwanath Chariyali, and Goalpara in Assam.
Homen Borgohain, a very famous Assamese writer and also the winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1978 for his novel Pita Putra, is the editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Under his tutelage, the newspaper covers regional, national, and international news on business, sports, entertainment, arts, and so on.
Apart from the print daily, the publication has an e-paper, web portal, and social media channels. Combined, this has resulted in a wide reach and readership. Moreover, the paper has a very diverse reader base across Assam.
Dainik Janmabhumi, one of the more popular Assamese-languages dailies, began its journey in 1972. Later, its second and third editions began publishing for Guwahati in 2001 and Tinsukia in 2004 respectively. Presently, the newspaper is now published simultaneously from Jorhat, Guwahati, and Tinsukia.
However, its history goes back to the year 1947, when The Janmabhumi Group of Publications was established, starting its ventures with the publication of a weekly magazine. Since then, the group has enjoyed a unique and respectable position in Assamese society for its role in bringing about unbiased news from all over the state.
Under the editorship of Utpal Boruah, the publication supplements its print editions with a strong online presence through their e-paper and social media channels. Moreover, it has a broad online archive of carefully-curated news articles, secured and categorised for future use.
Among other things, this endeavour has been a much helpful resource pool for researchers in criminal, social, political, and also geographical domains in Assam. Furthermore, Janmabhumi’s team also runs charitable trusts to help the underprivileged in the Jorhat area.
Owned by the Yash TV Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., Pratidin Time is a popular news portal, covering a wide range of domains such as national, regional, world, sports, technology, and business news. Divided into clear categories, their website is adequately navigable and their coverage mostly unbiased, thus being a news source of choice for several Asamiya readers. Apart from the website, the publication is also significantly active on social media.
A sister concern of the famous Axomiya Pratidin and Nandini, Pratidin Time also has a namesake satellite and cable TV news channel, with common ownership.
Founded in the year of 1993, Asomiya Khobor is one of the leading dailies of Assam. Though it has its headquarters in Guwahati, it is also published from Jorhat. Frontier Publication Pvt. Ltd. is both the owner and the publisher of the daily.
Along with the newspaper, it also has an e-paper website to enlarge its reader base. The website has a dedicated section called Archive in which old newspapers are securely enlisted for research purposes. The newspaper also comes with a Sunday supplement called Debopriyo Khobor which is also available on the website.
Amar Asom is an Assamese-language daily, published by G.L. Publications Ltd., under the ownership of G.L. Agarwalla and the editorship of Manoj Kumar Goswami. Launched in 1995, the paper is also known to have a sister publication— The North-East Times.
Gana Adhikar is one of the most acclaimed dailies of Assam with a vibrant online presence. Along with the social media pages, it also has a very active website. It began in 1994 under the ownership of Unity Media and Infrastructure Limited.
B. English Newspapers in Assam
Barring the presence of the Assamese newspapers, newspapers and portals published in the English language have considerable influence on the educated population of Assam. In fact, English newspapers in Assam also have a historical background as many of these were first started during the colonial times. In this section, we discuss some of the English-language newspapers that are presently in circulation across Assam.
The Sentinel is one of the largest media groups of north-eastern India which started its journey in 1983 with the primary ambition of news publishing. Dhirendra Nath Bezbaruah was the founder editor who later became the President of The Editors Guild of India. It was also the first daily to embark on a combination of phototypesetting and web offset printing. Presently, in 2020, Omega Printers and Publishers Pvt. Ltd. is both the owner and publisher of the newspaper.
In the past, names like Harekrishna Deka (Former Assam DGP and Litterateur) and Gauri Shankar Kalita (renowned journalist) were associated with the daily as editors. Now, under the editorial leadership of Shankar Rajkhewa, the sentinel has four editions, simultaneously published from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, and Itanagar.
The daily also boasts of four supplements titled Junior Sentinel, Melange, Multilingual, and Saturday Fare. Over time, the newspaper has gained a very special position in the minds of the Assamese for its rich content and flawless English. Indeed, not just Assam but the entire north-east appears to be in awe of this publication’s impeccable command over the English language.
Apart from the print editions, the daily has an active website, as well as an e-Paper. Alongside breaking news and top headlines, the online portal covers pertinent issues catering to the youth and employment news for the north-east, among other things. Moreover, it has a dedicated section — Sentinel TV — which broadcasts meetings, interviews, and videos.
With operations across various spheres of media, the Sentinel stands true to its motto of representing the North East not only to the rest of India but also the world beyond.
The Assam Tribune
The Assam Tribune started its journey on 4th August 1939 in Gauhati. Radha Gobinda Baruah, the founder of the daily is accredited to be the first person to conceive the idea of starting an English daily from Assam. He appointed Lakshminath Phukan, who was a former editorial staff of Hindusthan Standard, a leading daily of Anandabajar Group Kolkata, as the editor.
Radha Gobinda Baruah, also known as the ‘Lion Man’, still remains one of the most celebrated names of Assam for his contributions towards building an educated and cultural society in the region.
Currently, the Assam tribune is one of the most popular dailies of both Assam and North-East, with the circulation of more than 700,000 copies and a readership of over 3 million. While being headquartered and printed from Guwahati, it is also published from Dibrugarh.
Presently, In 2020, Prafulla Govinda Baruah — the son of Radha Gobinda Baruah — is the editor of the daily. In 2014, it won The Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa award, in the Assam Sahitya Sabha, supported by the Sachichandra Borborua Trust. The same year also brought it to the limelight with its grand platinum jubilee celebration in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The enterprise has not limited its operation only to the daily but has also expanded to various online platforms. The newspaper has a website to publish the daily news as well as social media pages to connect with its readers virtually. Dainik Assam is held to be its sister newspaper.
Times Of Assam
As a leading daily, the Times of Assam remains committed in its goal to publish real news and has no space for gossip and sensations. Although the nascent idea was conceived in 2003, the paper was finally launched in 2010. In 2020, the experienced journalist, Dhruba Jyoti Deka, is the newspaper’s editor.
The North-East Time
Launched in 1990, the North-East Times is one of the widely circulated dailies of Assam. It also has a website, as well as an e-Paper. Currently, Khiren Roy, a veteran journalist, is the editor of the daily.
The Hills Times
Founded in 2000, it is an esteemed daily for its unbiased reportage of news from all over the world. The newspaper’s success lies in the fact that it reached certain indigenous communities of Assam and inculcated the habit of newspaper reading in those who were long detached from it.
Times Of India Assam
Times of India, a popular national newspaper in India, has a separate section on their daily, as well as their website, that covers news of regional importance to Assam.
C. Bangla Newspapers in Assam
Despite the dominant presence of English and Assamese dailies, Bengali newspapers in Assam have a large reader base and plays an important role in bringing out the diverse, multilingual reality of Assam. While some of these dailies have been among the early newspapers in the region, the presence of the Bengali newspapers also throws light on the demographic condition of Assam.
It was founded in 1950 by Baidyanath Nath and began its publication from Silchar. Currently, this Bengali daily is published from Kolkata, Guwahati, Silchar, Siliguri, and Durgapur. Its circulation numbers range as high as 150,000 copies, giving it a permanent position in the list of top 10 newspapers of Assam.
At present, in 2020, the group is headed by Bijoy Krishna Nath, the chairman and the editor in chief of Dainik Jugasankha. Nilotpol Choudhury is the executive director and Arijit Aditya is the editor of the daily. Apart from running the daily, the group also presents awards to journalists and eminent literary personalities.
Launched in 1957, the daily has come a long way and has established its presence both online and offline. It was started by Jyotindra Chandra Dutta and still remains committed to its goal of maintaining a pro-people approach.
Dainik Samayik Prasanga
Though it has a long history of being published in other forms, the daily first became public in 2003. The endeavour started in the hands of Taimur Raja Chowdhury, a man with a keen interest in society and politics.
Naba Barta Prasanga
In 2008, Naba Barta Prasanga was made available to readers across the world. Published from Karimganj, a small town, the daily has Mr H. R. Choudhury as its editor.
D. Hindi Newspapers in Assam
Though very less in numbers, the Hindi newspapers are not absent from the scenario. These newspapers cater to the needs of the Hindi speaking population of Assam and also those to outside the region.
It is a popular daily newspaper based in Assam. Guwahati, Jorhat, and the North Lakhimpur are three of its major publication centres. In the year of 1989, it was first started by G L Publications Limited, a group headed by G. L. Agarwalla.
This newspaper is one of the most widely circulated Hindi dailies of Assam as well as the north-east region. In 2005, it started getting published from Guwahati under the ownership of Purvoday Publications Pvt. Ltd.
E. News Channels in Assam
The reach of television is far greater than all other mediums and news channels in Assam also boast of the same. Their viewership cuts across regions and languages. In fact, for long, it has been the only source of infotainment for many.
DY 365 (TV)
Launched on 30th October 2008, DY 365 is a unit of Brahmaputra Tele Productions Pvt. Ltd. and is broadcast internationally. With its headquarters situated in Assam, the channel has Manoj Goswami as its Editor-In-Chief. The channel also has a website where live streaming of television programmes are done.
As the gateway to the North East, Assam is one of the most important of all Indian states, and so is the state’s media industry. The newspapers, news websites, and TV channels of Assam, indeed, act as the bridge that connects the region to the rest of India, in terms of information.
Over time, Assam’s news industry has evolved a lot, while expanding to various channels to reach more of the region’s common people. Among other things, the Assamese media is uniquely vibrant, owing to its inherently multilingual nature. In fact, rarely does a state have popular newspapers in four languages, like Assam does: Assamese, English, Bengali, and Hindi. That too, most of these are dailies which have formidable circulation, which also tells a lot about the region’s social demography.
Since pre-independence times, India’s regional and national media industries have faced several obstacles to their autonomy, most of which they have successfully overcome. In doing so, they have retained their rights to the Freedom of the Press. Regional media, such as Assam’s, have been especially persistent in this regard, while also acting as effective and inclusive windows to regional issues. In essence, Assam’s newspapers give us a vivid glimpse of the lives of its people.
The 21st century demands an unhindered growth of media and this is why, we, at MediaBuzz, are dedicated to staying right on its tail, to bring to our readers an up-to-date coverage of every possible news source. Our team is built with professional writers who have an unquenchable enthusiasm for finding out trends in the field of journalism. That said, we are more than happy to receive any suggestions which can help us make our list better.
Do help us out in our quest to know more by answering these questions in the comment section:
- Which are the top 3 Assamese newspapers, according to your tastes?
- Have we missed out any relevant news source in our list? Please mention which ones.
- What is your view on the government’s control over news sources in Assam? What do you think about the political turns of the different newspapers?
- Which Assamese news sources, do you think, are doing the best at maintaining neutrality?
- What do you think about our categorization of news sources in this article? Would you suggest any other category?
- Did any particular newspaper or website catch your attention?
- Do you read any of these English/Assamese/Bengali or Hindi newspapers already? Are any of these your favourite?
- Is there any crucial information we have missed out on, related to Assamese, Bengali, English or Hindi newspapers in Assam?
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