News

Format: 2017-05-24
Format: 2017-05-24
May 12, 2017
A new report from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press explores the legal framework for the government to obtain information about journalists’ communications. “Electronic Communications Surveillance: What Journalists and Media Organizations Need to Know” serves as a useful guide for journalists seeking a contemporary snapshot of surveillance law.   Using legal and regulatory protections for journalists as a starting point, the report surveys and defines a variety of communications surveillance tools that the U.S. government has at its disposal, such as National Security Letters, wiretaps, and search warrants, and advises that common journalism tools like email and text messaging may inadvertently expose reporters and their sources to surveillance.  
May 10, 2017
On Wednesday, the Reporters Committee submitted comments to the United Kingdom's Data Protection Team on the "right to be forgotten," which beginning next year will be enforced under the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).    As written in the Data Protection Team's call for views, while the GDPR is somewhat limited in scope for flexibility, "there are derogations (exemptions) within the GDPR where the U.K. can exercise discretion over how certain provisions will apply."   
May 3, 2017
Already this year, under the new administration, journalists have faced new attacks on and challenges to freedom of the press. Here’s what we are doing to push back, defend reporters, and protect the flow of information to the public.   To kick off the year, we convened a group of leading media rights advocates to develop joint strategies for addressing these new threats and engaging the public in the fight for press freedoms. After that meeting we made a commitment, alongside several partner organizations, to document subpoenas, arrests, border stops and searches, and other efforts to undermine journalists’ ability to gather and report the news. That project will launch this summer. We’ve also developed new partnerships to expand our legal services to documentary filmmakers, freelance journalists and nonprofit newsrooms.  
May 3, 2017
World Press Freedom Day 2017 arrives at a time when press institutions worldwide are under siege from forces that are both political and economic.   Combined, these forces threaten democratic society as we know it. The same sweeping structural economic changes that have hollowed out so many newsrooms have produced widespread political anxiety. That anxiety in turn has given rise to scapegoating and kill-the-messenger-ism.   Bearers of what are often bad tidings can’t expect to be popular, but journalists cannot take a neutral stand on attacks against themselves. The survival of democracy depends upon a free flow of reliable information.   So as organizations that represent the working press we pledge to:  
March 31, 2017
Communications service providers are constantly faced with demands to turn over their customer’s records to law enforcement. But Microsoft found that when it was served with these demands, they were all too often accompanied by gag orders with no ending date, forbidding them to talk about the demand or tell their customer that their records were involved. So the tech giant decided last year to sue the government over those gag orders in federal court in Seattle, and in February, it overcame the first hurdle by beating back the government’s effort to have that part of the case dismissed.
March 30, 2017
Allison Jean White as Kate, Christopher McLinden as Prince William and Robert Joy as King Charles in the American Conservatory Theater production of King Charles III, directed by David Muse. Photo by Kevin Berne.
February 23, 2017
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed an amicus brief opposing compelled testimony of John Sepulvado, a former reporter with Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), which was authorized by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his first week in office. Sepulvado had interviewed Ryan Bundy, one of the Malheur Natural Wildlife Refuge occupants, about the purpose of the occupation in January 2016.
February 17, 2017
The Federal Bureau of Investigation no longer will allow individuals seeking public records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to file requests via email, according to several reports, and several other agencies are following suit. The FBI's FOIA page already has removed any mention of an email submission option, though it has notified some requesters that it will allow email requests until the end of this month. According to the agency page, requesters now have to submit written requests by fax or standard mail, or they can use an online portal system called eFOIA. The FBI used to allow for requests to be filed via email in addition to the online portal system.
February 14, 2017
A court decision that resulted in an 85-day jail stay for reporter Judith Miller will be re-enacted and re-examined this afternoon by a number of prominent attorneys and judges. The Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit will host the examination of the oral argument in In re Judith Miller, a 2004 reporter’s privilege case heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The event, which is part of the historical society’s annual program highlighting a significant issue before the D.C. Circuit, will take place from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Ceremonial Courtroom on the sixth floor of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse.
January 27, 2017
Charges have been dropped against one of the seven individuals arrested and charged with felony rioting while covering the anti-Trump protests last Friday, according to a filing by the U.S. Attorney’s office in D.C. Superior Court. Evan Engel, who works at the news site Vocativ, had been released pending trial last weekend. The rioting charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. “After consultation with the counsel for Mr. Engel, who is a journalist with Vocativ, as well as a review of evidence presented to us by law enforcement, we have concluded that we will not proceed with the charge against this individual,” prosecutors said in a media statement. Engel's lawyer is former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler.
January 10, 2017
Visual journalist Armando Gallardo, a freelancer for the news and entertainment network Fusion, was arrested Sept. 26 by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and charged with an “extraordinary event” violation while covering protests in Charlotte over the fatal shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott. His crime? A gas mask, tucked away into his backpack as he snapped photos and spoke with members of a community reeling from violence.
November 8, 2016
As France continues to push the envelope in terms of enforcing a worldwide “right to be forgotten,” free press advocates in the U.S. have stepped in to help Google defend itself from an order to delist content across the global Internet.  Reflecting concern for newsgathering protections, as well as access to information for readers, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and a media coalition of 28 news and journalism organizations today urged the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest administrative court, to strike down an order requiring Google to cleanse search results across all domains worldwide.
October 17, 2016
"Democracy Now!" journalist Amy Goodman announced to a crowd outside the Morton County Courthouse in Mandan, N.D., that Judge John Grinsteiner refused to formalize charges against her for participating in a riot while she was covering a pipeline protest in the state. Goodman originally faced a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass in response to her Sept. 3 coverage of a protest against the construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. She learned the trespass charge was dropped when she returned to North Dakota to continue reporting on the protests, but late last week learned that the state's attorney wanted to bring a more serious charge of participating in a riot.
August 31, 2016
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is publishing the results of its survey of journalists on the "release to one, release to all" policy under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). More than 100 self-identified journalists responded to the survey. Respondents to the survey were generally in favor of a “release to one, release to all” policy if it is implemented with a delay between release to the requester and release to the public. While a quarter of respondents supported the policy unconditionally, almost 60% support it only with conditions, such as a delay period.
July 28, 2016
The Pentagon has updated its Law of War manual to clarify that journalists are generally protected as civilians under international law. The changes, announced last week, came after media groups expressed concern that some language in the original version could put reporters at risk of being considered spies or combatants. The manual, first released in 2015, is the Department of Defense’s guide to international law as it applies to the U.S. military. The original manual drew criticism for saying that although journalists are usually civilians, they can sometimes be “unprivileged belligerents” — a category that includes guerrillas and spies.