學界將彌爾頓（John Milton, 1608～1674）視為新聞自由的提倡者與起點，且將Areopagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing to the Parliament of England譯為《新聞自由請願書》，此譯將liberty of unlicensed printing視為「新聞自由」，但今日的「新聞自由」指freedom of the press。本研究提出的問題是，liberty of unlicensed printing是否等同於freedom of the press？因此本研究在本體論上主張歷史實在論，使用歷史研究法，由原文與時代脈絡仔細推敲Areopagitica，以精確觀察彌爾頓想法。
研究發現，Areopagitica大要如下：（1）彌爾頓反對由羅馬公教發明，國教派仿冒，最後被長老派使用的宗教審查制；（2）“liberty”是只有英明睿智且行為節制者可享的公民特權（3）“liberty of unlicensed printing”，指「不受宗教審查的出版特權」，並非新聞自由；（4）瀆神、無神論與誹謗言論必須永遠禁燬，這與新聞自由理念背道而馳。由此明顯可見Areopagitica乃宗教性的政論著作，論述主題與新聞自由無關。 The academic circle has regarded Milton as the pioneer who first advocated freedom of the press, and translated Areopagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing to the Parliament of England into Petition of Press Freedom. This translation views liberty of unlicensed printing as press freedom, while nowadays, press freedom refers to freedom of the press. The thesis questions whether liberty of unlicensed printing equals to freedom of the press. Therefore, the thesis asserts historical realism in ontology, adopts historical method, and carefully examines Areopagitica according to the original text and its context to observe the thoughts of Milton closely.
Research found Areopagitica states: 1. Milton objected to religion licensing established by the Roman Catholic Church, imitated by Church of England, and eventually executed by Presbyterian. 2. “Liberty” stood for Civil Liberty which only belonged to people with wise and temperance. 3. “Liberty of unlicensed printing” stood for publishing privilege beyond religion licensing. 4. Blasphemous, atheistical, and libelous must be banished for good. Thus, obviously Areopagitica was written as a religion tract, not for freedom of press.