Censorship Instruction for Newspapers, Denmark–Norway, Copenhagen (1701)

Source: Danish National Archives: Danish Chancellery: Instruktionsbøger for kollegier, institutioner og embedsmænd: A90-2, 1698-1730, fol. 104-107.

Censorship Instruction for Newspapers, Denmark–Norway, Copenhagen (1701), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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Full title:
Instruction, whereby We Frederick the Fourth, by the Grace of God, King of Denmark and Norway... have most graciously commanded all newspapers... to be revised before they may go to press.

Full title original language:
Instruction, hvor efter Wii Friderich dend Fierde af Guds Naade Konge til Danmarck og Norge... allernaadigst haver befalet at revidere alle de adviser... førend de i trøk maa udgaa.

King Frederik IV’s 1701 Censorship Instruction (reissued in 1756) is a central document in the history of Scandinavian copyright because it sheds light on the regulation of an until recently overlooked cultural product within the field, namely the news report. It is one of the earliest attempts to control the Dano-Norwegian news trade, and reveals a tendency to treat news (defined in this commentary as foreign political news) as a distinct form of writing. By constructing a fundamental separation between “pure” news on the one hand and so-called “reasoning” or conjecture on the other—in other words a separation between what was considered or presented as fact versus speculation—it singled out news for special regulation. In eighteenth-century Denmark-Norway, the absolutist government would not only guard political news against inaccuracies but would also make sure that unwanted news did not reach the public. Perceived as matters of state that should be reserved for the rulers and decision-makers, news would be protected from public interpretation and discussion, and from any claims of public ownership.

1 Commentary:


Related documents in this database:
1701: Censorship Instruction for Newspapers, Denmark–Norway

Author: Frederik IV of Denmark

Publisher: N/A

Year: 1701

Location: Copenhagen

Language: Danish

Source: Danish National Archives: Danish Chancellery: Instruktionsbøger for kollegier, institutioner og embedsmænd: A90-2, 1698-1730, fol. 104-107.

Persons referred to:
Ernst, Johan Bartram
Laurentzen, Johannes
Rasmussen, Severin

Places referred to:

Cases referred to:

Institutions referred to:



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