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.

3 Things You Can Do

Blog Posts

  • Journalism and the First Amendment on Trial at Standing Rock

    February 14, 2017
    Jenni Monet, a Native American journalist, was arrested on Feb. 1 while covering Standing Rock. You’d think that would trigger a lot of support from the national and regional news media.
  • Fighting Back During Trump's First 100 Days

    February 13, 2017
    The Trump administration is endangering people’s lives and undermining basic civil rights and civil liberties. The threats to undocumented immigrants, people of color, women, religious minorities and the LGBTQ community are particularly dire.
  • 100 Days of Disruption

    February 3, 2017
    Donald Trump’s first two weeks in the White House put people's safety, freedoms and rights under siege like never before. But our 100 Days of Disruption Campaign is putting the president and his collaborators on notice.
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News from Around the Web

Press Releases

  • Free Press Activists Urge Authorities to Drop All Charges Against Journalist Amy Goodman and Others Covering the North Dakota Pipeline Protests

    October 17, 2016

    WASHINGTON — On Monday, Free Press delivered nearly 25,000 petitions to the office of the North Dakota State’s Attorney demanding that authorities drop all charges against Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman and anyone else covering the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline project.     

  • Thousands Call on St. Louis County Prosecutor to Drop Charges Against Two Journalists

    November 24, 2015
    WASHINGTON — On Monday evening, lawyers for journalists Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of The Huffington Post urged the St. Louis County court to dismiss charges that the reporters trespassed and interfered with a police officer. The two journalists were among the many people documenting police activity during the Ferguson demonstrations in August 2014.
  • 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.
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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