Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press receives 2-year, $800,000 grant to expand legal support for independent journalists and nonprofit newsrooms

Press Release | March 27, 2017
Investment from Democracy Fund will grow litigation efforts, pre-publication services, and public engagement

WASHINGTON – On Monday, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Democracy Fund announced a new partnership to expand litigation services for nonprofit newsrooms and independent journalists, and to strengthen legal support for longtime partners in broadcast, print, and online news media.
 
“We are honored to partner with the Democracy Fund at such a pivotal moment for press freedom,” said Reporters Committee Steering Committee Chairman David Boardman. “By focusing strategically on shoring up protections for independent journalists and nonprofit newsrooms, we’ll ensure that freedom of the press is strengthened for all.”

 
“A healthy democracy cannot exist without a vibrant public square, including an independent, trusted, and robust free press,” said Tom Glaisyer, director of the Public Square program at Democracy Fund. “The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press plays a critical role in safeguarding our free press by providing legal resources and guidance for journalists and partners in broadcast, print, and online news media. We are pleased to be able to support the Reporters Committee as it helps to ensure investigative journalists have the legal support and First Amendment protections necessary to pursue their work."

 
The funding will increase Reporters Committee’s capacity to offer guidance throughout the newsgathering process and before story publication, as well as rapid response legal services when the need arises.
 
“Threats to press freedom are growing, and we know that smaller news organizations are less likely to have internal resources or even outside assistance,” Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown said. “These organizations, along with independent journalists, are vulnerable not only to direct intimidation but to self-censorship and the chilling effect the threat of a lawsuit or the lack of access to legal assistance creates.”
 
With this support, Reporters Committee will also focus on public outreach and engagement centered around key press freedom issues like subpoenas of journalists for confidential information, blocking access to public records and information, and digital surveillance.

 
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About the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was founded by leading journalists and media lawyers in 1970 when the nation’s news media faced an unprecedented wave of government subpoenas forcing reporters to name confidential sources. Today it provides pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support, and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. Funded by corporate, foundation and individual contributions, the Reporters Committee serves the nation’s leading news organizations; thousands of reporters, editors, and media lawyers; and many more who use our online and mobile resources. For more information, go to rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter.

About Democracy Fund
 
The Democracy Fund is a bipartisan foundation established by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that our political system can withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Since 2011, Democracy Fund has invested more than $50 million in support of effective governance, modern elections, and a vibrant public square.