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Freedom of the Press Foundation Launched to ‘Block US Government Attacks’

Glenn Greewald writes, about the new Freedom of the Press Foundation, at The Guardian (emphasis added throughout post):

Nothing is more vital than enabling true transparency and adversarial journalism, and preventing further assaults on them.

Greenwald is a member of the Board of Directors of the new organization, who signed the announcement about the group, along with Trevor Timm (Co-founder and Executive Director), John Perry Barlow (Co-founder and Board of Directors), Xeni Jardin (Board of Directors), Josh Stearns (Board of Directors), and Rainey Reitman (Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer). Greenwald also identifies other Board members Daniel Ellsberg and Laura Poitras.

From the Mission statement of the organization:

The Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to helping promote and fund aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government. We accept tax-deductible donations to a variety of journalism organizations dedicated to government transparency and accountability.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation is built on the recognition that this kind of transparency journalism – from publishing the Pentagon Papers and exposing Watergate, to uncovering the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program and CIA secret prisons – doesn’t just happen. It requires dogged work by journalists, and often, the courage of whistleblowers and others who work to ensure that the public actually learns what it has a right to know.

But in a changing economic and technological age, media organizations are increasingly susceptible to corporate or government pressure. This can lead to watered-down or compromised coverage, or worse: censorship.

Increasingly, non-profit media and transparency organizations are emerging as a critical component of the journalism landscape. Leveraging the power of the Internet, these organizations are helping to reinvent and reimagine independent watchdog reporting.

Right now, too many of those organizations are struggling for funding, relying on a few large foundations or competing for donors. Our goal is to broaden the financial base of these types of institutions–both start-ups and established non-profit organizations – by crowd-sourcing funding and making it easy for people to support the best journalism from an array of organizations all in one place.

Using the same networked, collaborative approach, the Freedom of the Press Foundation will also provide support for organizations and individuals that have been unjustly censored or cut off from funding for doing their job as journalists. Given the variety of corporate and government pressures on journalism outlets around the world, the need has never been greater.

The Foundation identified “four independent media outlets” as the initial recipients of funding: The National Security Archive; MuckRock News; The UpTake; and WikiLeaks.

The organization was inspired by the financial embargo against the transparency website WikiLeaks. After WikiLeaks published leaked documents from the U.S. State Department, major payment processors–including PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard–refused to process payments to the site, despite the fact that WikiLeaks had committed no crime. Individuals were unable to donate to the nonprofit online, and WikiLeaks suffered tremendous financial setbacks.

Greenwald:

Secrecy is the linchpin of abuse of power. Few priorities are more important, in my view, than supporting and enabling any efforts to subvert the ability of the US government and other factions to operate in the dark. It’s particularly vital to undercut the US government’s ability to punish and kill groups that succeed in these transparency efforts.

(Freedom Of the Press Foundation logo via Freedom Of Press)

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3 Responses to Freedom of the Press Foundation Launched to ‘Block US Government Attacks’

  1. Cujo359 December 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    I read this yesterday at the Guardian. It’s the first good news on this front in quite some time. It remains to be seen if our government and its allies can freeze these guys out, too, but I suspect it will be harder.

    Meanwhile, those who value a free press would be better advised to give them money than to give it to NPR.

    • Cujo359 December 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

      Oh, and thanks for reminding me about that little item on the to do list.

      • Joyce Arnold December 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

        As always, thanks for the link to your post.

        I’m encouraged by the efforts of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, while knowing it’s a very steep up-hill effort.

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