News

Format: 2018-07-20
Format: 2018-07-20
May 25, 2018
On Wednesday, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan's so-called "decorum order" that has required all documents to be filed under seal in the murder trial of former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. For more than a year, Judge Gaughan has required all parties to the case to file documents in his courtroom instead of the court clerk's office, effectively preventing the press and public from accessing them.  
May 21, 2018
Last month, an Illinois judge ordered the unsealing of a majority of the court records filed in the high-profile murder trial of former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014.  
May 17, 2018
On Thursday, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press announced that Katie Townsend has become the organization’s legal director. In this role, she will oversee the Reporters Committee’s legal services portfolio, including its direct litigation and amicus practices. She’ll continue to lead litigation efforts in public records, court access, and legal defense cases, and will supervise the team of staff attorneys and legal fellows in both areas.    She’ll also continue to manage partnerships where the Reporters Committee offers legal support and pre-publication review, particularly to documentary filmmakers and nonprofit newsrooms.   
May 10, 2018
Be calm. Be fair. Be accurate. This is how you do this.   That’s the advice that journalist Emily Steel said she received from The New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet before a tough interview with a source while she was reporting on sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against a well-known television commentator.   It’s also advice that exemplifies Dean’s own approach to journalism in the last four decades of his career, for which the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will honor him this month with a Freedom of the Press Award.  
May 10, 2018
"She is really, truly interested in hearing the perspectives and ideas on any given subject from every voice you can find, and she won’t rest until she’s heard them all."    That’s how Florentine Films Producer Sarah Botstein summed up what it’s like to work with Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Lynn Novick.    Lynn, who is widely known for her collaborations with filmmaker Ken Burns, immerses her audiences in stories about American history and culture ranging from Prohibition to the Vietnam War in a deep, powerful way. Her newest project, tentatively titled "College Behind Bars," is slated for release in 2019. The project is a four-part documentary series about the men and women who participate in the Bard Prison Initiative, a rigorous program for incarcerated people in New York to earn a college education. 
May 10, 2018
After decades on the air, his was a voice that needed no introduction. Yet every newscast began the same way:   "This is All Things Considered. I’m Robert Siegel."   As National Public Radio’s senior host for the nation’s most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program for 30 years, Robert Siegel delivered the day’s news to millions of listeners across the country who tuned in to find out more about the events shaping the world around them.   And he was there to report on many of the most memorable events of the last four decades. He was in New York City on September 11, 2001, where he ended up reporting on the tragic events that unfolded that day. When a massive earthquake hit Chengdu, China, Siegel was there to cover the aftermath.  
May 10, 2018
Each year, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press presents its Freedom of the Press Awards to recognize the accomplishments of leaders in the news media and legal fields whose work embodies the values of the First Amendment.    This year, we’re announcing our new Rising Star Award to honor a young leader who is making great strides in the press freedom community and forging new paths in the field of media law. The inaugural winner of this award is Nabiha Syed, BuzzFeed vice president of legal and associate general counsel.     We talked to a lot of people about Nabiha and her work, and we came to the conclusion that there’s no better way to tell you about why we’re honoring Nabiha than a listicle, true BuzzFeed-style.   
May 3, 2018
As we mark World Press Freedom Day today and celebrate the important role of a free press throughout the world, we’re also looking back at what Reporters Committee attorneys have done so far this year to advance this fundamental pillar of our democracy in the U.S.    The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day — “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law” — serves as a reminder that our legal environment and the independence of our judiciary play an essential role in protecting and upholding press freedom.   Here’s what the Reporters Committee has been up to in 2018 to defend the First Amendment and fight for the newsgathering rights of journalists in U.S. courts:    Protecting the right to access public records
April 30, 2018
UPDATE (April 30, 2018): Following a lawsuit brought by the Reporters Committee, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has released records about its demand that Twitter turn over information about the individuals behind the anonymous Twitter account @ALT_uscis. Read the documents here. Following a court order, CBP is required to process 500 pages of records in response to this request every 30 days; the Reporters Committee will continue to post the records online as we receive them. The following was originally published on January 24, 2018. Reporters Committee Files Suit Against DHS, CBP, Demanding Compliance With FOIA By Jose Ochoa
April 25, 2018
Update (May 2, 2018): The public docket sheet is now available here.   Two-and-a-half years after a Chicago police officer was indicted for murder, the public will finally have access to a complete court docket on Thursday that will shed light on what has happened in one of the city’s most high-profile criminal cases.    On Friday, Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan ordered the court clerk to create a list of all documents and orders filed in the ongoing case against Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with murder in the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The clerk must release the list, generally known as a “docket sheet,” to the public by Thursday, when the court will hold a hearing on the matter.  
April 24, 2018
Earlier this month, an Oklahoma judge ruled that the Governor’s Office and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) violated the state’s Open Records Act by failing to provide timely access to records, the first ruling of its kind in the state.  
April 18, 2018
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of California heard oral arguments in Hassell v. Bird, a case that could have implications for whether courts can force online publishers to take down third-party content without first accounting for the publishers’ First Amendment interests.  
April 13, 2018
A draft position announced by Canada's Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) earlier this year has troubling implications for online freedom of expression and the right to receive information.  
April 10, 2018
Following a lawsuit brought by two freelance journalists represented by attorneys from the Reporters Committee, the public will have access to more information about how the Charlottesville Police Department and Virginia State Police planned for the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally. The rally left 19 injured and led to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, as well as two Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M.M. Bates, who were killed in a helicopter crash while monitoring the day’s events.  
April 10, 2018
Late last week, Bloomberg Law reported on a contract solicitation at the Department of Homeland Security for a “media monitoring” service that would track almost 300,000 news sources globally, in more than 100 languages. According to the bid, DHS wants the ability to track “media influencers,” to query the database for all coverage related to DHS or “a particular event” and to follow social media conversations. The desired database would also be able to categorize coverage by “sentiment.”