Freedom of the press is the guarantee by a government of free public speech often through a state constitution for its citizens, and associations of individuals extended to members of news gathering organizations, and their published reporting. It also extends to news gathering, and processes involved in obtaining information for the public consumption.
With respect to governmental information a government distinguishes which materials are public or protected from disclosure to the public based on classification of information as sensitive, classified or secret and being otherwise protected from disclosure due to relevance of the information to protecting the national interest. Many governments are also subject to sunshine laws or Freedom of Information Acts that are used to define the ambit of national interest.
The concept of freedom of the press was established on August 4, 1735 when New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger was acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, on the basis that what he published was true.