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

  • FCC Chairman Pressed to Respond to Trump's Threat to Revoke Licenses Over News Coverage

    Variety
    October 17, 2017

    Days after President Trump suggested that network outlets’ broadcast licenses should be revoked because of “partisan, distorted and fake” news coverage, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is being pressed to speak out on what some journalism groups see as an attack on First Amendment values.

  • FCC Chairman Silent Amid Trump's Attacks on the Press

    ABC News
    October 16, 2017

    President Trump continued his assault on NBC News Friday, retweeting former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's assertion that "the president will not be able to impact licenses, but he is doing major damage to the NBC brand."

  • Pai Urged to Disavow Trump's NBC Tweets

    TVNewsCheck
    October 16, 2017

    A group of 21 free-speech activists, including three former FCC commissioners, called on the FCC chairman to publicly repudiate President's Trump tweeted suggestion that the FCC revoke broadcast licenses for airing "fake news" about him.

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Learn More

  • Defending All Acts of Journalism

    U.S. journalism is in a fragile state. Strengthening the connections between newsrooms and communities is one way forward.
  • 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