Press Information Bureau (PIB) is the nodal agency of the Government of India to disseminate information to the print and electronic media on government policies, programmes, initiatives and achievements. It functions as an interface between the government and media & also serves to provide feedback to the government on people’s reaction as reflected in the media.
PIB disseminates information through different modes of communication viz. press releases, press notes, explainer, factsheets & feature articles, photographs, videos, infographics and also through social media platforms. Information disseminated is released in English, Hindi & Urdu and subsequently translated in other Indian languages to reach out to about 8400 newspapers and media organisations in different parts of the country.
In addition, the PIB also organizes Press Conferences, Press Briefings, Interviews of the Ministers/Secretaries and other senior officers for sensitizing media persons on important policy initiatives of the Government. The Bureau also conducts press tours to select project sites to enable the media to have a first hand account of developmental activities going on in the country and help them in communicating the important policies of the government.
History of PIB
The history of Press Information Bureau can be traced back to the first World War Years, when a Central Publicity Board came into existence under the Home Member of the colonial Government. Later, a Cell was set up in the Home Department in June 1919 under Dr. L.F. Rushbrook Williams, to prepare a yearly report on India, for presentation to the British Parliament.
In the following year, the functions of the Cell were amplified to provide and supervise “the distribution of correct information on all India questions” and to inform Departments of Government of “particular questions on which public opinion is exercised and on which further information is needed”.
Towards the end of 1920, the Cell was rechristened as ‘Central Bureau of Information’ & Dr. L.F. Rushbrook Williams became its Director. The designation of the Head of the Bureau was changed from Director to Principal Information Officer in 1938.
Sh. J. Natarajan became the first Indian in 1941 to be appointed as Principal Information Officer and the Organization’s name was changed to Press Information Bureau in 1946.
The bureau’s functions, as visualized by Dr. Rushbrook Williams, were as follows:
(i) To present material in the form required by the Press i.e. news stories.
(ii) To provide an ‘agency’ news service, reporting facts without comment.
(iii) To exclude any material of a communal nature, and,
(iv) Rigorous exclusion of political or controversial nature, except when attributable to a definite source.
Upon attainment of Independence, the scope of the Bureau underwent further changes. The Bureau was not only to give factual information on the programmes, policies and activities of the Government, but was also entrusted with an additional and more delicate task of interpreting those facts and Government policies.
With the advent of sophisticated media related technology, expansion of Government activities and varied media requirements, the role of PIB has, since independence, been expanding and becoming more complex.