2 May, 10:30-13:00, National Archives of Finland, Rauhankatu 17, Helsinki, Finland
In 2016, the world commemorates the adoption of “His Majesty’s Gracious Ordinance Relating to Freedom of Writing and of the Press”, recognized today as the first press freedom law. The passage of the Ordinance in Sweden in 1766 (which during that time comprised today’s Sweden and Finland) was preceded by intense political and scholarly debate. Peter Forsskål, Swedish and Finnish scholar and one of Carl Linnæus’s most promising apostles, put himself in the center of that debate, when he published the pamphlet “Thoughts on Civil Liberty”, consisting of 21 paragraphs championing civil rights for everybody. Born in 1732 in what today is Finland, Forsskål believed that civil rights could be best defended by the institutions of “limited Government and unlimited freedom of the written word”.
Forsskål’s pamphlet had an immense impact on society and the course of history in Scandinavia and beyond. Some claim it 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. The panel will discuss Forsskål’s legacy, as well as its impact on contemporary press freedom and freedom of information legislation in Peter Forsskål’s home country and globally.
Moderator: David Goldberg, Coordinator, Project Forsskål
27 April at the latest via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone +358 29 533 7002.
Marie Pelkonen, Head of Communications, National Archives of Finland, email@example.com or +358 50 409 8983
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