News

Format: 2018-08-15
Format: 2018-08-15
January 19, 2018
Lawyers for journalist Aaron Cantú filed a motion Friday to dismiss charges stemming from his arrest while covering the Inauguration Day protests on Jan. 20, 2017.   Cantú, who now works for the Santa Fe Reporter, was covering the protests in Washington, D.C., as a freelance journalist. He was one of several protesters, journalists and others who were penned in by police for hours before many of them were arrested.   The motion argued that the indictment violates Cantú’s First Amendment rights as a journalist and that the District of Columbia’s riot laws are unconstitutionally vague as applied in this case.  
January 9, 2018
Stronger anti-SLAPP laws protect press freedom from frivolous but costly legal threats   President Donald Trump’s legal threats against the publisher and author of the most recent insider account of the White House may strike a nerve with journalists who are fearful of expensive legal defenses and chill valuable news reporting, but the threats could lose much of their power if states or Congress strengthened a tool that judges may use to dismiss meritless lawsuits involving speech protected under the First Amendment.   
December 15, 2017
The “right to be forgotten” remains fresh in the minds of free press advocates as the European Union’s top court considers whether an order from the French data privacy authority requiring Google to delete certain links from search results should be applied worldwide.   On Nov. 30, the Reporters Committee filed a written statement on behalf of a coalition of 24 news media organizations urging the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to hold that a search engine is not required to delete search result links globally when a request for “delisting” has been granted by a European data protection authority.    
December 6, 2017
Global concerns about the spread of misinformation online have increased following reports that the Russian government fabricated news stories to interfere with the United States presidential election.   This concern has led to numerous efforts to stop the threat of false information online. However, some of these new measures—including landmark legislation in Germany to criminalize fraudulent news on social media—threaten to infringe on free speech online.   This June, Germany passed legislation to combat fake news and hate speech on social media. The Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG), or the “Act to Improve Enforcement of the Law in Social Networks” in English, took effect on October 1, 2017.  
November 28, 2017
Every year, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, nonprofits and charities celebrate Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving back. And today, we’re asking you to join our Giving Tuesday campaign to raise $20,000 for our mission to provide pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support, and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. And we’re excited to share that if you make a gift today, Cristine Russell and Ben Heineman, long-time Reporters Committee supporters, will match every dollar. What will my gift support?   This year we’ve worked hard to protect press freedom so that reporters can bring you the news and information you need. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to:
October 23, 2017
Four states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee — have recently passed legislation restricting the rights of protesters, as part of a sweeping trend that has seen more than half the states consider implementing such restrictions. The laws range from increasing penalties for trespassing and rioting to even prohibiting protests in certain circumstances.   The new legislation not only penalizes citizens seeking to peacefully protest, but also threatens to interfere with journalists who cover and report on protests.  
October 11, 2017
Today, several prominent press freedom groups, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Free Press, Media Law Resource Center, PEN America and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press issued the following statement today expressing concern with President Trump’s taunt to broadcasters.     "When coming from the leader of the free world, words matter. And if the First Amendment means anything, it’s that the government can’t censor news because it’s critical of the government. The president should be working to uphold the values of the First Amendment, not tearing them down."  
September 20, 2017
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and a coalition of 18 media organizations submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit urging it to unseal court records in the case of Guiffre v. Maxwell.    The brief argues that the district court violated the public’s First Amendment right to access court records when it allowed a vast number of records in the case to routinely be filed under seal or redacted in their entirety without first undergoing review to determine if there was a compelling reason to keep the information private.   
September 19, 2017
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has promoted one and added five new members to its team to expand our work to protect First Amendment freedoms, defend the newsgathering rights of journalists, and improve access to public information.  
September 8, 2017
Laws designed to protect the student press from censorship by school officials are gaining traction around the country, and the American Bar Association recently lent its support to the cause with a unanimous resolution. Rhode Island passed a new law on July 18 that protects the free expression rights of student journalists, becoming the third state to do so this year after similar laws passed in Nevada and Vermont, and the thirteenth state overall to enact statutory protection for student journalism.
September 7, 2017
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is conducting a survey in advance of planned improvements to iFOIA, its free online system for creating, sending, and tracking federal and state freedom of information requests.    The survey seeks feedback on improvements to existing features as well as input on what new features should be introduced, such as fax submission option for government agencies that do not (or no longer) accept requests via email.  
August 8, 2017
On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced efforts to a crack down on unauthorized disclosures to the news media, citing an uptick in "leaks" investigations and a plan to revisit policies on obtaining journalists' records.  President Trump, who has routinely castigated disclosures to the news media, praised the threatened crackdown in a tweet: After many years of LEAKS going on in Washington, it is great to see the A.G. taking action! For National Security, the tougher the better!
July 24, 2017
Six months after the Presidential Inauguration, one reporter still faces charges springing from the mass arrests of protesters in downtown Washington, D.C., that day.   Aaron Cantu, a freelance writer and now a staff reporter with the Santa Fe Reporter, was among 36 defendants arraigned before the Washington, D.C., Superior Court on June 9 after being arrested during the protests on January 20. Cantu, who was working as a freelance journalist at the time of the protests, faces eight felony charges, including inciting to riot, rioting, conspiracy to riot, and five felony destruction of property charges. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, however, he could face up to 75 years in prison.   
July 21, 2017
Three significant court victories this month helped advance the cause of access to public records and increased transparency. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed amicus briefs in all three cases, which involved the right to record police officers in public spaces, public access to dashboard videos of fatal encounters with police, and a ruling overturning Utah’s “ag-gag” law. The Reporters Committee argued in all three cases that greater access and openness is necessary for the public to stay informed and hold the government accountable to its citizens.   
June 12, 2017
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Reporters Without Borders are hosting a special advance screening of "City of Ghosts" on Monday, June 19 at 6:00 p.m. at Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema (807 V St NW) in Washington D.C.   RSVP for the screening here.