“Protect Press Freedom” campaign media partners include Barron’s, CBS News, Comcast-NBC Universal, CNN, Facebook, Gannett/USA TODAY NETWORK, The Los Angeles Times, McClatchy, The New York Times, NPR, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, Reuters, Scripps, Sinclair, Twitter, The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones, The Washington Post
WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 7, 2019— The nonprofit organizations the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists, along with a coalition of over 30 media, technology and nonprofit partners, today launched the “Protect Press Freedom” campaign to mobilize the public to stand up for press freedom and actively protect their right to be informed. Through video, radio, digital, print, and social media assets, the campaign communicates a simple, powerful truth: In order to be free, we must be informed. The creative illustrates the crucial role the free press plays in everyday life by depicting a world in which people are unable to access news about issues that are important to them. On the campaign website, visitors can learn more about the threats to press freedom, explore key moments for the free press in America’s history, and take a quiz to assess their knowledge.
“Americans across the country rely on diverse news sources to help them make informed choices every day, but many don’t see the threats that are putting that information at risk,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “When one journalist or news source is threatened — whether it’s verbally, physically, or legally — it threatens a fundamental American freedom that’s essential to understanding and participating in our communities. We’re proud to bring news outlets and organizations together to have a conversation with the public about press freedom and encourage people to stand up for their right to information.”
Attacks on journalists’ safety and the public’s right to know occur with troubling regularity. According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, of which the Reporters Committee and CPJ are partners, there were at least 35 physical attacks on journalists last year, most notably the murder of five people working at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. So far in 2019, at least 28 journalists have been denied access to government events that are traditionally open to or attended by the press, leaving members of the public without crucial information about their government’s activities. Relentless disparagement of the media contributes to an increasingly dangerous climate for journalists.
“Journalists around the world are being imprisoned in record numbers, and violence is on the rise,” said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. “The Protect Press Freedom Campaign is about standing up for the rights of journalists in this country and supporting journalists working in repressive conditions, without the protection of the First Amendment.”
Despite the attacks on press freedom in this country, a majority (52%) of Americans do not believe that it is currently under threat, according to bipartisan research released by the Reporters Committee and Democracy Fund. The Protect Press Freedom campaign will educate Americans about the threats to press freedom, reinforce the values underpinning the free press, and celebrate the diverse journalism that keeps the public informed.
In addition to the Reporters Committee and CPJ, the campaign steering committee includes Free Press, Internews, Media Law Resource Center, PEN America, Reporters Without Borders and the Society of Professional Journalists. Additional partners include the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, International Center for Journalists, National Association of Broadcasters, Radio Television Digital News Association, National Press Club Journalism Institute and Society of Environmental Journalists. For more information on the campaign and creative assets, visit ProtectPressFreedom.org.
ABOUT THE REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press provides pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support, and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. The Reporters Committee serves news organizations, reporters, editors, documentary filmmakers, media lawyers and many more who use its online resources, like the First Amendment Handbook and the Open Government Guide.
ABOUT THE COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS
The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide. We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal. In our quest for a free media, CPJ denounces press freedom violations, meets with heads of state and high-ranking officials and spearheads or advises on diplomatic efforts. When press freedom violations occur, we mobilize a network of correspondents who report and take action on behalf of those targeted. CPJ also provides comprehensive, life-saving support to journalists and media support staff working around the world through up-to-date safety and security information and rapid response assistance.