U.S. President Joe Biden leaves without taking questions from reporters after delivering remarks on the economy during a speech in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 16, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis - RC27RP9HCXOI

U.S. press freedom under President Biden

The Torch is a weekly newsletter from the Committee to Protect Journalists that brings you the latest press freedom and journalist safety news from around the world. Subscribe here.

Since his inauguration, U.S. President Joe Biden has underscored the importance of protecting press freedom. In a new report by CPJ, Leonard Downie Jr. finds an almost complete reversal from the Trump administration’s hostile anti-media rhetoric and a return to a more traditional relationship between the press and the White House.

However, journalists and advocates say they are still concerned about the lack of substantive change both domestically and internationally. Freedom of information requests remain backlogged, U.S. Border Patrol agents maintain wide authority to question reporters and search their devices, and the administration has stonewalled reporters’ ability to report on matters of public interest and has continued weaponizing the Espionage Act, among other concerns.

With at least three years left in the Biden presidency, there is much more to do to mitigate some of the lasting and continuing damage done to the news media by Trump, his administration, and his followers in and out of politics and the media. Watch our latest video where Downie Jr. and CPJ U.S. and Canada Program Coordinator Katherine Jacobsen detail the report’s findings.

Read the full report and recommendations, watch a press briefing on its findings, and engage with us on Twitter.

Global press freedom updates

  • Journalists detained, news crew attacked, as Kazakhstan state of emergency continues
  • Journalists at the Beijing Winter Olympics may test China’s tolerance for critical coverage. CPJ’s new safety advisory includes information for journalists covering the Games, which will begin on February 4
  • CPJ joins statement condemning the use of Pegasus spyware to target journalists in El Salvador
  • Three Afghan journalists detained following coverage of anti-Taliban protests. Separately, an unidentified man attacked Afghan journalist Noor Mohammad Hashemi in Kabul
  • Two journalists detained in Jammu and Kashmir and in Chhattisgarh
  • Turkish journalist Rojhat Doğru sentenced to life in prison
  • Danish reporters summoned by police in national security leak investigation


Jodie Ginsberg will join CPJ as its new president (Photo courtesy of Griffith University: Integrity 20)

In exciting news this week, CPJ announced Jodie Ginsberg as its new president. Ginsberg will succeed Joel Simon, who stepped down at the end of 2021 after leading the organization for 15 years.

A journalist by profession, Ginsberg has served since March 2020 as chief executive officer of Internews Europe, part of the Internews alliance, one of the world’s largest international media development nonprofits. She previously served as CEO of Index on Censorship, an international freedom of expression group.

“The past two years have shown just how vital a role the press plays in our global world,” Ginsberg said. “Journalists help hold power to account, expose corruption and injustice, and shine a spotlight on the most important issues of our day – from health to climate to social change. For that, far too many face a growing threat of violence and harassment. I am determined to help reverse this trend and am honored to be leading CPJ at such a critical juncture.”

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