The continental newspaper also developed in the 17th cent. in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Censorship was common throughout Europe, and Sweden was the first country to pass a freedom of the press law in 1766. One of the oldest papers, Avisa Relation oder Zeitung, appeared in Germany in 1609; the Nieuwe Tijdingen was published in Antwerp in 1616; the first French newspaper, the Gazette, was founded in 1631.
Major French newspapers today include Le Figaro, France-Soir, Libération, and Le Monde. Among newspapers of contemporary Germany are Tagesspiegel (Berlin), Die Welt (Hamburg), Rheinische Merkur (Coblenz), Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich), Frankfurter Allgemeine, and Frankfurter Rundschau. Other well-known European newspapers include the Irish Independent (Dublin), Popolo (Rome), Corriere della Sera (Milan), Osservatore romano (Vatican), and Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Zürich).
Newspapers have played an important historical role as the organs of revolutionary propaganda. The most notable of such revolutionary newspapers was Iskra, founded by Lenin in Leipzig in 1900. In the USSR, Izvestia and Pravda were the largest-circulation official newspapers. After the Soviet Union's disintegration, Izvestia became an independent newspaper involved in joint ventures with the New York Times and the Financial Times. Pravda, which the new government briefly banned (1993), remained aligned with the former Communists. In 1994 an editorial faction at Pravda opened a rival paper with the same name, and in 1998 the original Pravda changed its name to Slovo ("the word").
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.