On Dec. 2, The American Lawyer presented the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press with the 2021 Tony Mauro Media Lawyer Award for the organization’s work to secure a transformative change in how the U.S. Department of Justice handles investigations involving journalists.
The Department of Justice announced in July that it would no longer use subpoenas, warrants or other investigative powers to obtain notes, work product or other information from journalists who are engaged in newsgathering activities.
The decision follows nearly a decade of advocacy by the Reporters Committee, which began in 2013 when news stories revealed that the DOJ had secretly seized the phone and email records of journalists from the Associated Press and Fox News. Since then, the Reporters Committee has coordinated meetings with DOJ leadership and news organizations to strengthen DOJ’s policies to better protect reporters.
“We are honored to have led the efforts to secure this critical change in government policy,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee. “We thank The American Lawyer, a longtime loyal supporter of our work, as well as the award’s namesake, Tony Mauro, for his decades of service to the Reporters Committee as a member of our steering committee. We are grateful for his dedication and commitment to the organization and its mission to provide pro bono legal services to journalists and news outlets who need them.”
The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.