Press Club Brussels Europe #WeLoveBrussels - Page 16

who wrote for and printed the newspaper risked their lives and many lost theirs. After the Second World War it was replaced by “La Libre Belgique” on the initiative of the catholic Cardinal Mercier. Both newspapers were housed in Rue du Persil and Rue du Fossé-aux-Loups. It was important to have newspapers printed centrally to facilitate distribution by using the available means of transport at that time. A distribution company was created expressly for this purpose by Louis Bertrand, the founder of “Le Journal du Peuple” and alderman for finance in the Schaerbeek municipality. He also promoted the creation of bread baking cooperatives (bread and newspapers were always linked in Belgium) and the Messageries de la Presse for printing. The Messageries was subsequently sold to Havas, a major French group, but to guarantee press independence the “Association Autonome de la Presse Belge” was created, the first Independent Belgian Press Association to defend the rights of jour- 16 nalists and the press in general. In 1921 the news agency Belga was created to provide both reliable information and clearly indicate the sources of the information. In 1887 the daily “Le Soir” was created and for the first time in Belgium a newspaper was financed from advertising revenue. In Rue du Persil the Union of Newspaper Producers was established in 1847 to decide together with newspaper editors how to distribute newspapers which initially were delivered by rail. In Flanders the debate was more complicated since at that time the Francophone press was much more popular than the one in Flemish. Newsprint for newspapers arrived at the port of Antwerp where the price was lower than in Brussels. This encouraged the creation of the Port of Brussels linked through a canal to the Antwerp harbour whereby Brussels then became a “sea harbour” and thus able to enjoy a lower price for its newsprint and much else besides.