Research topic: Newspapers and periodicals
The development of letterpress printing in the 15th century laid the foundations for the growth of print media. The new technology made it possible to disseminate thoughts and ideas more quickly and cheaply.
Information became more widely accessible now that manuscripts no longer had to be copied by hand, but at the same time governments gained more control over what was printed.
Governments used various methods, including legislation and privileges, to try to control what was printed and distributed.
During the Enlightenment towards the end of the 18th century, freedom of the press became an important principle. Freedom of expression was included in the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen in 1789 and was also embodied in the amendments to the American Constitution adopted in 1791. In Norway freedom of expression was introduced in 1814 in Article 100 of the Constitution - "There shall be freedom of expression."
Today freedom of expression is considered to be a fundamental right in every democratic society.