News

Format: 2018-12-10
Format: 2018-12-10
August 8, 2018
UPDATE (Aug. 8, 2018): This post has been update to include information provided by the City of Charlottesville and the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) related to media operations and briefing areas, prohibited items, and contact information for press inquiries and in the event of an arrest or other incident. Ahead of planned demonstrations marking the one-year anniversary of the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville that turned violent, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reminds journalists that our Legal Defense Hotline is available seven days a week for journalists who need legal support. Reporters Committee attorneys will be available in both Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville.
August 7, 2018
On July 30, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and five media organizations asked a California appeals court to uphold a superior court ruling that dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by celebrity fitness instructor Richard Simmons against American Media, Inc. (AMI) after it published an article that incorrectly stated that Simmons was transitioning from male to female.  
August 7, 2018
The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sent a letter to Facebook on Monday urging it to change its terms of service (TOS) to allow journalists and researchers to automatically collect data from the platform and create accounts using pseudonyms or for fictional users. The "safe harbor" that the Knight Institute proposes for both techniques — "scraping" data and the use of "test" accounts — includes strong privacy protections for Facebook users while also protecting the use of these tools, which can be especially important for reporters and researchers investigating discriminatory practices among Facebook's advertisers.  
August 2, 2018
On Wednesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a resolution condemning the White House for restricting media access and affirming the need for and importance of an unfettered free press. The resolution comes after the Trump administration barred CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from attending a press event on July 25.  
July 13, 2018
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is seeking to unseal court documents that could shed light on the alleged misconduct of three Chicago police officers facing conspiracy and other charges related to the October 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.    Police dashcam footage of the shooting — which led to protests, public outrage, and a Justice Department investigation into the Chicago Police Department — showed McDonald holding a knife and walking away from police officers when then-Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shot him 16 times. The three officers — David March, Joseph Walsh, and Thomas Gaffney, who is still employed by the police department but currently suspended — are charged with official misconduct, obstruction of justice, and conspiring to obstruct justice in the investigation of Van Dyke, who is awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges.
July 9, 2018
In a victory for free expression and online speech, the California Supreme Court ruled last week that Yelp, an online platform that publishes third-party reviews of local businesses, could not be ordered to take down defamatory reviews and ratings. The ruling upholds protections that prevent online publishers — including online news publishers, who often host and moderate forums and comment sections on their websites — from being compelled to remove speech that others have posted to their platforms.  
June 28, 2018
Last week, Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown joined journalists and media lawyers at the Center for a New American Security’s annual conference to discuss the challenges journalists face when reporting on sensitive national security issues, including the government's seizure of journalists' records as part of leaks investigations.   CNAS Adjunct Senior Fellow Carrie Cordero moderated the panel discussion, "Reporting America's Secrets: Journalism, Classified Information, and the Age of Leaks," with Brown, Just Security Editorial Director Kate Brannen, Knight First Amendment Institute Senior Staff Attorney Alex Abdo and Washington Post Staff Writer Shane Harris.  
June 27, 2018
Decision in Carpenter v. United States expands privacy protections for newsgathering activities   Reporting the news takes journalists –– and their cellphones –– to a wide range of locations. The cellphone that a reporter carries to do her job creates a record, stored with the phone company, of that reporter's location every minute that it's connected to the network.    In a decision issued Friday in Carpenter v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified that, under the Fourth Amendment's protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures," the government must obtain a warrant to access this location data — which can paint an intimate picture of a journalist's movements, unmask the identity of her sources, and reveal what stories she is investigating.   
June 22, 2018
Attorneys for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have filed a lawsuit on behalf of award-winning freelance journalist Azmat Khan against the United States Department of Defense and Central Command (CENTCOM) after the agencies failed to comply with her Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records related to civilian casualties in the U.S-led campaign against ISIS.    Khan submitted three FOIA requests to CENTCOM between March 2017 and March 2018 seeking records regarding its reporting procedures, credibility assessments, and closure reports for allegations of civilian deaths stemming from U.S.-led Coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria as part of “Operation Inherent Resolve.”   
June 21, 2018
Attorneys for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have filed a lawsuit on behalf of WTHR, an NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, against the Hamilton Southeastern School District (HSE) following its refusal to comply with requests under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act (APRA).
June 15, 2018
News coverage of protests is essential to informing the public about political dissent, responses to important issues and how law enforcement handles such demonstrations. But journalists who report on these events often face physical attacks, arrest and searches and seizures of their equipment.   In fact, the most dangerous place for a U.S. journalist in the field last year was at a protest, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press found in a report last March that surveyed the 2017 data from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. The Reporters Committee and more than two dozen press freedom groups launched the tracker last year to document threats to press freedom in the U.S. amid increasing hostility toward the news media.
June 14, 2018
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press attorneys have asked a Florida state court to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against journalist and President of News for Univision Daniel Coronell over an opinion column he published about Colombian attorney Abelardo de la Espriella in January.   The column, which ran in Colombia’s Spanish-language newsmagazine Semana, offered commentary on De la Espriella’s famed legal career and lavish lifestyle, including his tastes in designer clothes, watches, and luxury travel on private jets.  
June 13, 2018
On Saturday, Murray Fromson, a professor at the University of Southern California and a longtime reporter passed away at 88. Fromson helped found the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in 1970 amid hostility from the Nixon administration and a wave of government subpoenas asking reporters to name confidential sources.   In honor of the Reporters Committee’s 35th anniversary in 2005, Fromson wrote about its founding.   
June 12, 2018
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is excited to announce that Vickie Walton-James, senior national editor for NPR, and Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, managing editor at The Washington Post, joined our Steering Committee in May.   "We are thrilled to welcome Vickie and Emilio to the board," Steering Committee Chair David Boardman said. "We look forward to the experiences, enthusiasm and perspectives they will bring to the already strong group of individuals who support the Reporters Committee’s work to protect press freedom."     
June 8, 2018
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is supporting the National Press Photographers Association and two environmental groups in their challenge to two Wyoming laws that could discourage newsgathering in the state, particularly for photojournalists. The laws increase criminal and civil penalties for people who cross private property without permission, even if they did so unknowingly, to take photos on public land and record geolocation data for where the photos were taken.