(a) Marco Polo, the Italian explorer, visited China and learnt the technology of woodblock printing. When he returned to Italy in 1295, he brought this knowledge back with him. Gradually, this knowledge spread from Italy to other parts of Europe.
(b) In 1517, Martin Luther, the religious reformer wrote ‘Ninety Five Theses’ critjcising many of the corrupt practices of the Catholic Church and pasted a printed copy of this on the church door in Wittenberg. Very soon, thousand of copies of Luther’s Theses were printed, spreading his ideas among people. Martin Luther was deeply moved by realising the power of printing, which brought about the Reformation Movement in Germany. Thus, he said, “Printing is the ultimate gift of God and the greatest one”.
(c) Print and popular literature encouraged many distinctive interpretations of religious faiths and ideas. In the 16th century, Menocchio, a miller in Italy, began to read books available readily in
his locality. He gave a new interpretation of the Bible and formulated a view of God and creation that enraged the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, Menocchio was hauled up twice and ultimately executed when the Roman Catholic Church began its inquisition to repress the heretical ideas.
After this, several control measures were imposed on publishers and book-sellers. In 1558, the Roman Church decided to maintain an Index of prohibited Books.
(d) Mahatma Gandhi said these words in 1922 during the Non-cooperation Movement (1920-22). According to him, without the liberty of speech, the liberty of press and freedom of association, no nation can even survive. If the country was to get free from foreign domination, then these liberties were quite important. If there is no liberty of speech, liberty of press and freedom of association, then there is no nationalism. Nationalism requires these three prerequisites for its survival. That is why, he said so, particularly about these three freedoms. To Gandhiji, Swaraj meant to achieve freedom of press before anything else.