This book tells the long history of freedom of the press, from the initial struggles against censorship in the early modern age to the present day. Freedom of the press is a right originally established in 17th-century England as a corollary to freedom of conscience, then sanctioned at the end of the 18th century by France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The outbreak of the Great War and the advent of totalitarianism put a temporary stop to the progress of press freedom, which was officially endorsed at the international level in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet even now many countries continue to deny these fundamental rights and persecute journalists.
Pierluigi Allotti, a professional journalist and a scholar of contemporary history, teaches History of Journalism at the Sapienza University in Rome.