Freedom of the Press Foundation Established to Crowd-Fund Transparency Journalism
Free Expression Advocates and Journalists Launch Campaign to Support The National Security Archive, The UpTake, MuckRock, and WikiLeaks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Francisco, CA – December 17, 2012 – Notable journalists and free expression advocates today launched the Freedom of the Press Foundation, an organization designed to crowd-source funding for cutting-edge, independent journalism and publishing outlets that expose government and corporate mismanagement, corruption, and law breaking.
The initial fundraising campaign will run through January 31 and fund four independent media outlets: The National Security Archive, MuckRock News, The UpTake, and WikiLeaks. Individuals can donate money through the Freedom of the Press Foundation and adjust what percentage of the donation goes to each of the recipient organizations.
The Foundation is designed to crowd-fund a variety of journalism institutions—both start-ups and established organizations—who are dedicated to aggressive, uncompromising journalism in the vein of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers. The organization’s Board of Directors is comprised of journalists and free expression advocates, including John Perry Barlow, Daniel Ellsberg, Xeni Jardin, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Josh Stearns, and John Cusack.
Board members will hold a press conference call at 2 pm ET / 11 am PT today. Email [email protected] for the call-in details.
“Seeking the truth in reporting without fear or favor is one of the great traditions of journalism and the foundation that underlies the First Amendment,” said Trevor Timm, co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “We aim to support economic independence in the Fourth Estate, so that hard-hitting investigative journalism doesn’t end up on the cutting-room floor because of government or corporate censorship.”
The organization was inspired by the financial embargo against the transparency website WikiLeaks. After WikiLeaks published leaked documents from the U.S. State Department, major payment processors—including PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard—refused to process payments to the site, despite the fact that WikiLeaks had committed no crime. Individuals were unable to donate to the nonprofit online, and WikiLeaks suffered tremendous financial setbacks.
“Financial transactions are speech. The financial embargo was censorship – not just of WikiLeaks but of all of us who wished to donate to WikiLeaks,” said board member and co-founder John Perry Barlow, a former lyricist for the Grateful Dead and long-time free expression advocate.
"Whistleblowing leaks—exposing governmental lies, errors, illegality—are the lifeblood of a republic. Publishing wrongly-kept government secrets in the public interest is clearly protected by the First Amendment, and is crucial to our democracy," said Daniel Ellsberg, co-founder and board member, who first revealed the Pentagon Papers.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation plans to offer time-limited ‘bundles’ which highlight a group of similar organizations that promote media independence. The initial bundle includes four nonprofit media organizations that promote investigative journalism and access to information. Donors may also choose to send money directly to the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
"We're supporting many organizations dedicated to transparency—WikiLeaks and otherwise—and who are attacking unnecessary government secrecy in a variety of innovative ways," said Xeni Jardin, co-editor of Boing Boing, who is also a board member of Freedom of the Press Foundation. "We want to crowd-fund a new generation of independent media which will be more resistant to corporate and government influence.”
Press Conference Call Information
When: 2 pm ET / 11 am PT today
For call-in number, email [email protected]
Co-founder and Executive Director
John Perry Barlow
Co-founder and Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer