According to the modern definition of newspapers, the first institutional newspaper in the subcontinent was the Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser which was an English weekly consisting two pages. It was published by James Augustus Hicky from Kolkata on 29 January 1780. During the next six years there were four periodicals published from Calcutta: Calcutta Gazette (February 1784), Bengal Journal (through government initiative in February 1785), Oriental Magazine of Calcutta Amusement (April 1785) and Calcutta Chronicle (February 1786). During the period from 1780 to the second decade of the nineteenth century, the press was controlled strictly by the administration. Hicky’s press was closed and sold out in 1782. The editor of Bengal Journal was put in jail. The proprietor of Bengal Harkara Charles Maclean (1798), the editor of Calcutta JournalJames Silk Buckingham (1823), his successor Arnott (1823) and many others also met the same fate due to their strong anti-government attitude.
The Newspapers which were published from Calcutta up to 1818 were written in English and edited and managed by the Europeans. The first Bengali magazine was Monthly Digdarshan published in April 1818 from Kolkata. The serampore mission brought out this monthly magazine. The mission has also brought out the Bengali weekly newspaper Samachar Darpanwas in May 1818. This was edited by John Clarke Marshman. It continued its publishing for about twenty years.
The first English weekly appeared in 1856 from Dhaka was the dhaka news edited by A R Forbes. In 1860-61, at least four weekly or monthly magazines were published from the then East Bengal: Rangpur Dikprakash (from Kakina of Rangpur), Kobita Kusumabali (Dhaka), Monpanjika(Dhaka) and dhaka prakash. In 1873, there were 38 periodicals in Bengal, of which 10 were published from East Bengal. These were Bangabandhu,Dhaka Prakash, Mohapap and Balyabibaha from Dhaka; Gram Doot, Balaranjika, Hitasandhani and Barisal Barta from Barisal; Hindu Ranjika from Rajshahi and Rangpur Dikprakash from Rangpur. The famous Amrita Bazar Patrika appeared from Jessore in 1868.
The newspaper industry was shocked during the war of liberation in 1971. During 25-31 March, offices and presses of three daily newspapers - The People, Dainik Ittefaq and Sangbad - were set on fire by the Pakistani army. The resumption of their publication took some time after the War of Liberation was over.
There were ten newspapers in Bangladesh before 16 December 1971. After liberation, the owners of Dainik Pakistan and Morning News of the Pakistan Press Trust and The Pakistan Observer, Purbodesh, and Chitrali were absentees and the new government took over their management. Through a management board, these newspapers were run by the Ministry of Information. In 1972, the news-based weekly magazine Bichitra was appeared as a Dainik Bangla publication. On 16 June 1975, the government banned the publication of all newspapers except four dailies: Dainik Ittefaq, Dainik Bangla, Bangladesh Observer and Bangladesh Times.
Now, some important dailies are Ittefaq, Prothom Alo, Janakantha, Inquilab, Ajker Kagoj, Bhorer Kagoj, Banglabazar Patrika, Mukta Kantha, , Bangladesh Observer, Daily Star, Financial Express, Independent and New Nation.
Most of the dailies and leading weeklies have on-line editions. Many readers both from home and abroad can read there newspapers and periodicals by browsing the Internet.
As per the findings conducted in 2008, over 1,000 dailies and periodicals are published in the country.
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