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Reporters Committee analyzes the state of U.S. press freedom in 2021

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  1. Special Analysis
On World Press Freedom Day, RCFP launched a four-part newsletter series analyzing press freedom violations documented in 2021.
Photo of U.S. Capitol riot. AP photo by Jose Luis Magana
Demonstrators break TV equipment outside the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. AP Photo: Jose Luis Magana

Today, on World Press Freedom Day, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press launched a four-part newsletter series analyzing the state of press freedom in the United States.

Over the next few weeks, the Reporters Committee will share our analysis of the 2021 data from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, beginning with the big-picture takeaways from reported incidents of assaults and arrests of journalists. Throughout the series, we’ll drill down into some other interesting data points, offering analysis that connects the documented press freedom incidents with the Reporters Committee’s broader body of legal work.

Sign up now and select “Send me special reports and analyses” to get the series in your inbox on Tuesdays

Launched in 2017 to document threats against press freedom nationwide, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is now supported by partners from over two dozen press freedom organizations, including the Reporters Committee.

As a member of the Tracker’s advisory board, the Reporters Committee has published detailed annual reports analyzing press freedom violations confirmed by Tracker researchers each year and highlighting the Reporters Committee’s work to protect journalists and the public’s right to access information. You can find reports from 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 on our website.

While we do cover a lot in this series, there’s some data we won’t be covering. In addition to signing up for our newsletter series, we encourage you to take a look at the Tracker’s 2021 year-in-review and spend some time exploring the documented press freedom violations from last year (and previous years) using the Tracker’s newly redesigned website.

In the first installment, we highlighted takeaways from last year’s reported incidents of assaults and arrests of journalists. Future parts will analyze journalists’ efforts to hold police legally accountable for violating First Amendment freedoms; the impact of subpoenas on local journalists; and emerging threats to data journalism.

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Part 1

By Chris Young: From Capitol riots to LA protests, 2021 was another dangerous year for press freedom in the US

Part 2

By Grayson Clary: When police target newsgathering, do journalists have a path to accountability?

Part 3

By Chris Young: Subpoena threats and their impact on local journalists trying to protect confidential sources