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Press, Freedom of the

(637 words)

Author(s): Wilke, Jürgen
[German Version] Freedom of the press like freedom of speech is one of the basic human rights won in the West in the course of centuries of battles with church and state. Both institutions had reacted to the invention of printing in the mid-15th century with controlling measures (Censorship), whose legitimacy was initially uncontested. That situation changed first in England, where J. Milton in his Areopagitica of 1644, a fictional speech to the British parliament, justified the freedom of the press on all possible grounds. An argument for freedom of the pres…


(4,323 words)

Author(s): Wilke, Jürgen | Haberer, Johanna | Bohrmann, Thomas | Schmidt-Rost, Reinhard | Ries, Markus
[German Version] I. Sociology The press was the earliest of the modern mass media, the technical means of mass communication by which information can be duplicated and distributed to a large number of people (a dispersed public). The term goes back to the printing press, developed in the mid-15th century by J. Gutenberg. For a long time it covered all kinds of printed works, including books, but since the 19th century it has been narrowed to the periodicals press. This is justified insofar as regul…