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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  • Quality 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.
  • Right to Record

    The First Amendment has come under assault on the streets of America. Since the Occupy Wall Street movement began, police have arrested dozens of journalists and activists simply for attempting to document political protests in public spaces.

    The ubiquity of camera-ready smartphones has spawned legions of new journalists who can be found at every large-scale protest streaming and photographing close-up accounts of police actions and arrests. It's a new form of reporting that's open to anyone with a mobile phone and the resolve to get close to police and protesters.

  • Nonprofit Journalism

    The ravages of consolidation and the rise of the Internet have converged to create a crisis in journalism.  Job cuts have decimated newsrooms, media companies have closed foreign bureaus, and the number of journalists covering statehouses has shrunk to almost zero in many places. Many small cities and towns — and even large cities like New Orleans — are now without a daily local newspaper.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good