- The first newspaper properly so-called was published in August 1649. Le Courrier véritable des Pays-Bas appeared every three or four days. It was issued as Relations véritables as of 1 January 1653. Publication was inhibited during the Spanish and Austrian regimes by censorship directed by religious authorities. Reforms under Emperor Joseph II allowed wide tolerance. The Gazette des Pays-Bas, an exemplar of Enlightenment-era thought, appeared in the early 1760s.A stamp duty on newspapers was imposed during the French regime but without reducing the volume of production. Censorship and heavier taxes ensued under Napoléon Bonaparte. Freedom of the press was established under the Dutch regime. The Courrier des Pays-Bas, founded on 6 August 1821, led liberal opposition to the policies of King William I's government. After Belgian independence (1830), it became republican in orientation under the title Le Courrier Belge and disappeared in 1848. The first Dutch-language daily Vlaemsch België was founded in 1844. It lasted only nine months.After 1830, journalism flourished, spurred by lively political debate and boosted by abolition of the stamp duty in 1848. Méphistophélès, an early 1830s weekly satirical review, was representative.Founded as L'Indépendent in 1831, L'Indépendence belge (the name was changed in 1843) was created with funds provided by King Leopold I. It posted correspondents worldwide and remained in publication until 1940. L'Étoile belge (1850) and, later, Echo du Parlement, read especially by the governing elites, appealed to nonsec-tarian readers. The Journal de Bruxelles (1841) was the city's most prominent 19th-century Catholic paper. It was joined in the l860s by the Courrier and the Croix. La Chronique (1868) and La Gazette (187l) supported Liberal Party policies. The 1880s saw the conservative Patriote (1883) followed by the radically anticlerical La Réforme (1884). In 1884, Le Peuple, the organ of the Belgian Workers' Party, began publication.Cheap daily newspapers arrived in the late 19th century in conjunction with the first Dutch-language papers for mass readership, including De Nieuws van den Dag (1885) and Het Laatste Nieuws (1888). The daily Le Soir first appeared in 1887 as a newspaper neutral in editorial content and made available, free of charge, its revenues obtained through sale of advertisements and want ads, then a novelty. La Dernière Heure appeared in 1906.During World War I, the press was heavily censored. Le Patriote went underground in 1914 and appeared as La Libre Belgique, a title it retained at war's end. Collaborationist papers appeared—Le Bruxellois and La Belgique. During the interwar years there emerged Le Drapeau rouge (1921), the paper of the Communist Party, and Le Pays Réel, the organ of the Rex party. World War II saw again the appearance of an important underground press, including La Voix des Belges and, in a reprise of its role, La Libre Belgique.The major dailies today consist of three French-language papers, Le Soir (independent), La Dernière Heure (independent), and La Libre Belgique (Catholic), and three Dutch-language papers Het Laat-ste Nieuws (liberal), De Standaard (Catholic), and De Morgen (left-wing).See also Bulletin; Van Doren, Eugène.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.