Reporters Committee in the news: 2014

Reporters Committee joins Microsoft privacy fight

Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce D. Brown (right) was a panelist at the Dec. 15, 2014 Electronic Privacy Press Event hosted by Microsoft in New York City. Panelists discussed their stand against a U.S. judge's order that Microsoft give up emails stored at its data center in Ireland. The Reporters Committee was one of several organizations signing on to legal briefs against disclosure.

Available on the Microsoft website are: a webcast of the discussion; legal documents relating to the case; and a blogpost by Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president, legal and corporate affairs, explaining the issue.

Media coverage included:

Reporters Committee hires first litigation director

"Fair warning, all ye who interfere with newsgathering: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is getting ready to sue you.

"The organization has hired its first litigation director, Katie Townsend, to bring lawsuits around the country in cases that affect access to information for the press and public." Columbia Journalism Review: "The Reporters Committee is about to start suing people to help journalists," by Jonathan Peters, Sept. 16, 2014

Media argue for unsealing additional documents in Wisconsin campaign finance probe

The Reporters Committee was joined by other organizations in arguments for disclosure of court documents concerning a secret investigation into alleged illegal coordination between conservative political organizations and the campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. A recording of the arguments is posted to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals website. Some coverage:

Reporters Committee statement on arrest of journalists covering protests in Ferguson

The Reporters Committee called the arrest of reporters covering protests in Ferguson, Mo., "outrageous and unacceptable in a nation that cherishes a free press." Among those reporting the statement were:

Reporters Committee, free press groups petition DOJ, speak in support of subpoeaned New York Times reporter James Risen

Reporters Committee Legal Defense Director Gregg Leslie was among the speakers Aug. 14, 2014 at a National Press Club briefing about the subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen. The event was covered by C-SPAN, which has posted the video on its website. You can also read coverage by the Reporters Committee online here, by McClatchy's Washington Bureau here, and by Politico here.

New York Times reporter James Risen speaks at the National Press Club briefing. Joining him, from the right, are television host and journalist Phil Donahue; Ahmed Ghappour, outside counsel, Freedom of the Press Foundation; Gregg Leslie, legal defense director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; and Jesselyn Radack, director of national security & human rights, Government Accountability Project. Seated to Risen’s right but not pictured are Norman Solomon, co-founder, RootsActions.org, and executive director, Institute for Public Accuracy; Delphine Halgand, director of the Washington office, Reporters Without Borders; and Courtney Radsch, advocacy director, Committee to Protect Journalists.

Reporters Committee staff help UVa law clinic sue the U.S. government for settlement documents

Students at the University of Virginia School of Law's First Amendment clinic sued the federal government for documents relating to secret settlements with help from Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown, who co-directs the clinic, and Jack Nelson FOI Fellow Emily Grannis. According to a writeup by The New York Times:

"For law school students, typically schooled on the minutiae of civil procedure but unprepared to write an actual brief, the clinic is a rare chance to cut their teeth on real-world litigation." ("Your Homework Assignment: Sue the Federal Government," by Ben Protess, The New York Times, DealBook, April 8, 2014)

Sunshine Week 2014: Reporters Committee co-hosts panel on transparency at the U.S. Supreme Court

To celebrate Sunshine Week 2014, the Reporters Committee co-hosted with  NYU-Washington and the Coalition for Court Transparency a panel discussion on "Supreme Sunshine: Shining a Light on the Supreme Court." Moderated by Dahlia Lithwick of Slate, a member of the Reporters Committee's Steering Committee, the discussion looked at issues including justice's papers, access to cert decisions and reporting on justice's speeches. Watch the video below:

Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown co-authors a law journal article on the SPEECH Act

Bruce Brown and Clarissa Pintado have co-authored an article, "The Small Steps of the SPEECH Act," for the Virginia Journal of International Law, published March 19, 2014. The summary is available online, as is a PDF of the entire paper.

They write: "This is the phenomenon of 'libel tourism.' While England was not the only problematic foreign jurisdiction, it was by far the most notorious - the 'libel capital of the world' - with several high-profile cases that resulted in complete capitulation from publishers. For American media companies, the threat of libel tourism had developed into a real concern. Media defendants were settling suits abroad as U.S. enforcement uncertainties loomed."

 Media coalition, including Reporters Committee, launches TV ads, petition to encourage Justices to allow cameras in the U.S. Supreme Court

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has joined the Coalition for Court Transparency (CCT), a group of media and legal organizations focused on urging the U.S. Supreme Court to allow live video of oral arguments. In conjunction with CCT’s announcement, comes the launch of a 30-second television ad titled “Everywhere,” that will run some 300 times in the Washington, D.C., market on cable news outlets including CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC through March 10. The ad can be viewed on the newly launched OpenSCOTUS.com website, where people can join a petition to Chief Justice John Roberts urging him to open the Court to camera coverage.

Coverage of the launch included: