Press Freedom

Our democracy needs a robust press to hold our leaders accountable and cover the important issues facing our communities.

But press freedom is under attack today, with government authorities seizing journalists’ phone records, detaining reporters at border crossings and demanding that journalists reveal the identities of confidential sources.

This kind of harassment doesn’t just affect “professional” journalists. The Internet and new technologies have democratized media making, with more people taking up the tools of journalism. And after years of newsroom layoffs, many of the people who are most at risk are citizen journalists and indie reporters operating outside the mainstream press.

With more people than ever before engaged in media making, there are also more people who have a stake in defending press freedom.

The First Amendment belongs to all of us and the public has to have a seat at the table when new laws are being debated. We must leverage public pressure to make our leaders understand what the First Amendment means in the digital age, to beat back bad laws that threaten our rights to connect and communicate, and to support new journalistic efforts in all their forms.

Photo by Glenn Halog of citizen journalist John Knefel under arrest in New York City.

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News from Around the Web

  • Where Did Press Freedom Suffer Most in 2013? Online.

    MediaShift
    February 28, 2014

    This month the Committee to Protect Journalists released its annual analysis of Attacks on the Press, including a “Risk List” of the places where press freedom suffered most in 2013. As you might expect, conflict areas filled much of the list — Syria, Egypt, Turkey — but the place on the top of the list was not a country. It was cyberspace.

  • DoJ Right Not to Prosecute Assange, Say Press Freedom Advocates

    IDG News Service
    December 4, 2013

    The U.S. Department of Justice has made the right decision to not prosecute WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange for publishing leaks from former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, if a recent report in the Washington Post is correct, press freedom advocates said.

  • Let’s Stop Defining Who Is a Journalist, and Protect All Acts of Journalism

    MediaShift
    October 28, 2013

    the debate over who qualifies as a journalist has taken place primarily among journalists and policymakers, with little or no community involvement. People everywhere have a stake in this debate, both as media makers and as news consumers, and we should engage them in these conversations more deeply. They are not just our audience, but also our allies in the fight ahead.

Press Releases

  • Verizon-AOL Merger Makes No Sense

    May 12, 2015
    WASHINGTON — Verizon Communications plans to buy AOL for $4.4 billion, according to a report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal. The deal is the telecom giant's latest bid to expand its business to include mobile video and advertising services. If finalized, Verizon would also take control of AOL's online news sites, including Engadget, The Huffington Post and TechCrunch.
  • 42 Free Speech, Open Government and Public Interest Groups Urge the FCC to Protect Net Neutrality

    March 20, 2014
    WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, Free Press and 41 freedom of speech, open government, journalism and public interest groups sent a letter urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to reclassify broadband access services to protect freedom of expression online.
  • 78,000 Call on Justice Department to Stop Journalist Intimidation

    October 11, 2013

    WASHINGTON — On Friday, Free Press delivered a letter with more than 75,000 signatures to Attorney General Eric Holder, urging the Department of Justice to end the harassment and intimidation of journalists, specifically at U.S. borders.

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Learn More

  • Defending All Acts of Journalism

    The media landscape is changing dramatically, empowering more and more people to become media makers even as the traditional infrastructures that have supported journalism for years are eroding.
  • Low Power FM Radio

    Low Power FM radio stations are community-based nonprofit outlets that broadcast to neighborhoods and small towns throughout the country.

    LPFM stations have a limited broadcast range of just a few miles, but their impact on communities can be immense. These noncommercial stations inject vibrancy into a radio dial that has suffered from years of media consolidation.

    LPFM stations offer a platform for content and viewpoints that traditional media overlook. These stations foster community identity and serve as hubs for vital safety information during emergencies.

  • Attacks on Public Media

    Every year, for almost a decade, Americans have ranked public television as the institution they trust most. And more than 70 percent of Americans see funding for public television as money “well spent.” Exactly how much do Americans spend to support this resource? Pocket change: The United States spends less than$1.50 per person on public broadcasting — 20 times less than Germany and a whopping 70 times less than Denmark.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good