Abolishment of Censorship, Copenhagen (1770)

Source: Kongelige Rescripter, Resolutioner og Collegialbreve for Danmark og Norge. 6:1 : 1766-1776, Gyldendal 1786, 252-253.

Abolishment of Censorship, Copenhagen (1770), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Full title:
Rescript that Books must be printed without Censorship and Approbation.

Full title original language:
Rescr. ang. at Bøger maae trykkes uden Censur og Approbation.

Danish and Norwegian legislation concerning censorship and print changed dramatically in the years between 1770 and 1773, following three distinct royal orders issued during and shortly after the German physician Johann Friedrich Struensee’s time in power at the Danish court. The Order of 14 September 1770 abolished, with one swift stroke, the old system of pre-publication censorship by expert readers, and set in motion the world’s most radical experiment in press freedom. Soon, however, Struensee discovered that this experiment was not to his advantage and on 7 October 1771 another royal order restricted press freedom, emphasizing that authors needed to stay within the bounds of law and clamping down on the use of anonymity. Still, conditions continued to be favorable for both authors and printers until Struensee’s downfall in January 1772 and the ensuing reaction. In a third royal order, on 20 October 1773, a new regime of post-publication censorship was put in place, which, combined with a deterring show trial, put an end to the press freedom experiment in Denmark-Norway.

1 Commentary:


Related documents in this database:
1770: Abolishment of Censorship

Author: Christian VII of Denmark

Publisher: Gyldendal

Year: 1770

Location: Copenhagen

Language: Danish

Source: Kongelige Rescripter, Resolutioner og Collegialbreve for Danmark og Norge. 6:1 : 1766-1776, Gyldendal 1786, 252-253.

Persons referred to:

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:
Sorø Academy
The University of Copenhagen


censorship, pre-publication
enlightenment, the

Responsible editor: Marius Buning

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