Press and Speech Freedoms in the World, from Antiquity until 1998: A Chronology

Press and Speech Freedoms in the World, from Antiquity until 1998: A Chronology

Press and Speech Freedoms in the World, from Antiquity until 1998: A Chronology

Press and Speech Freedoms in the World, from Antiquity until 1998: A Chronology


Although Americans tend to take the concept and protection of free expression for granted, free press and free speech are at best only tentatively established in some nations of the world. Covering prehistoric times to mid-1998, this book provides a year-by-year report of the efforts to free the press throughout the world. Since the American concept of free speech came from England, the early chapters place a heavy emphasis on events in England, while later chapters include other nations. Ingelhart provides a thorough overview of free press and free speech principles and the continuing effort to extend those freedoms almost everywhere.


When articulate speech became recordable, it became possible to trace the history of expression and efforts to achieve freedom for that expression. That journey has been fraught with dangers and repression. How free expression has fared as the twenty-first century begins is demonstrated by this chronology. Press and Speech Freedoms in the World, from Antiquity, until 1998 attempts to record many of the human endeavors to establish an atmosphere of freedom and free expression throughout the world in nations other than the United States. It presents episodes and viewpoints year by year and, whenever possible, in alphabetical order within each year reported. The book is a companion volume to Press and Speech Freedoms in America, 1619-1995 published by Greenwood Press in 1997.

Since we have inherited many ideas about freedom from England and other nations, this book grew as a logical companion to the first. Our heritage has been somewhat complex and confused, however. In order to understand it, this book presents viewpoints and actions of persons or agencies either very much pro-freedom or partially or completely opposed to such freedom. The quotations, viewpoints, episodes, and actions presented herein demonstrate the slow journey toward freedom and the disappointments of backward steps.

Although more items could have been included, it was necessary to keep the book of a manageable length. The author used his sense of significance in selecting the items and some of the longer quotations were edited for length. In no instance, however, was there an alteration of what was said or what actually happened. Fortunately, there was considerable material available about England, the country that had the greatest impact upon our present situation; data from other nations was also voluminous.

Chapters 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 report on England; Chapters 1, 3, 7, and 10 cover other nations. Both England and other nations appear in Chapters 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15. In Chapter 16, the emphasis of the book changes from the nature of free expression in individual nations to international agencies. The new chronology covers international agencies from around 1927, when they entered the discussion, until today, primarily through the functions of United Nations agencies.

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