“A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know.”
—Judge Murray Gurfein, Pentagon Papers case, June 17, 1971
Freedom of the Press Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping support and defend public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government. We accept tax-deductible donations to a variety of journalism organizations that push for transparency and accountability, and we work to preserve and strengthen the rights guaranteed to the press under the First Amendment.
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.
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.
How It Works:
The process is simple. On our website, you can donate to as many as four journalism and transparency organizations at once. We’ll feature a “bundle” of four organizations and provide a bit of background on each. Every two months we will release a new bundle of deserving organizations or individuals. Once you enter the total amount you wish to donate, you can use the sliders to determine the percentage you want each entity to get.
You can also donate directly to the Freedom of the Press Foundation to help further our mission. Twice a year, we will distribute a grant to projects our Board of Directors has vetted and selected.
Freedom of the Press Foundation takes 5% from each donation, which goes to our operations costs.
Criteria for choosing organizations:
- Record of engaging in transparency journalism or supporting it in a material way, including support for whistleblowers.
- Public interest agenda.
- Organizations or individuals under attack for engaging in transparency journalism.
- Need for support. The foundation’s goal is to prioritize support for organizations and individuals who are in need of funding or who face obstacles to gaining support on their own.
You can go here to see a description of the organizations we are currently crowd-funding donations for.
Digital Security For Journalists
Protecting the communications between journalists and sources is one of the most important press freedom issues of the 21st Century. A record number of whistleblowers have recently been prosecuted in large part because the government thinks it can obtain the email and phone call records of any interaction, without ever attempting to force journalists to testify against their sources in court.
To that end, Freedom of the Press Foundation has supported a variety of encryption tools for journalists that aim at protecting these digital communications. We hope to train journalism organizations in how to use these tools, so they can keep their sources, and themselves, safer.
We also launched SecureDrop, an open-source whistleblower submission system for news organizations. We provide assistance with installation and training for journalists. Go here to find out more.
Press Freedom for the 21st Century
As technology continually changes journalism, it also challenges the rights of journalists around the world. Freedom of the Press Foundation is committed to advocating for the rights of journalists in the digital world in the public sphere, the courtroom, and wherever necessary.