International Day for the Universal Access to Information

Exhibition: 250 years of Freedom of the Press

Exhibition on the 250th Anniversary of the Freedom of the Press Act


On the occasion of the first celebration of the International Day for the Universal Access to Information, the Permanent Delegations of Sweden and Finland jointly organize at UNESCO Headquarters an exhibition to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the Freedom of the Press Act passed in 1766.

The exhibition will be launched on September 26 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris and will be presided over Frank La Rue, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Annika Markovic, Ambassador of Sweden to UNESCO and Pekka Puustinen, Ambassador of Finland to UNESCO.

The Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 was enacted in what is today Sweden and Finland. The Act is the first constitutionally protected freedom of the press legislation in the world, passed almost 200 years before the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. The Act was one of the intellectual achievements of the time, which paved the way for the proclamation of the American Declaration of Independence of 1776, and the French “Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen” of 1789.

Today, the Act is seen as a historical breakthrough as it abolished political censorship and gave citizens the legal right to scrutinize and share public documents.

In the form of an illustrated timeline, the exhibition presents the origins of the Freedom of the Press Act and focuses on the events, people, as well as the advances and setbacks that shaped it since the late 15th century until today.

The exhibition also presents personalities, which were influential in the process of the adoption of the act, in particular Anders Chydenius, a Member of the Parliament which passed the Act.

The joint exhibition from Sweden and Finland will be open to the public at UNESCO headquarters from September 26 to October 6, 2016.

You can find some of the posters that will be displayed here below:

Launch of the Exhibition on the 250th Anniversary of the Freedom of the Press Act

Venue: Room XII, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris 
Date: Monday, 26 September 2016
Time: 13.00 - 15.00

Media contact:
Marius Lukosiunas
Programme Specialist
Communication and Information Sector (CI)
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 04 08
m.lukosiunas@unesco.org