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‘Imperative’ to pass PRESS Act

Veteran journalist Catherine Herridge threw her full support behind the PRESS Act, the federal bill to put an end to surveillance and subpoenas to force journalists to out their sources, during Congressional testimony on April 11, 2024.

Stop arresting journalists

Just a few months into 2024, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker has documented four arrests or detentions of journalists covering protests in New York, Tennessee, and California. These arrests violate journalists’ rights, and they undermine the right of the public to learn about newsworthy events happening in their communities. They also show the disturbing and stubborn persistence of a system of policing that either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about First Amendment rights.

UK grants Assange another hearing

On Tuesday, the High Court in London granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange another hearing on his extradition to the United States, averting — at least temporarily — a press freedom catastrophe. While we’re glad that Assange isn’t being immediately extradited, the threat to journalists from the Espionage Act charges against him remains.

‘National security’ claims don’t trump First Amendment

Most analyses of Monday’s Supreme Court argument in Murthy v. Missouri, the case about government pressure on social media content moderation, agree that the justices are likely to rule that the government can influence platforms’ moderation decisions. But when it comes to alleged threats to “national security,” some justices seemed willing to let the government go even further by coercing — or even requiring — takedowns.

The public pays for records lawsuits

Public records and freedom of information laws are fundamental for government transparency. But when journalists fight for access to wrongfully withheld records at the state and local level, the public is paying the price, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. Over the past year alone, local governments have paid journalists at least $1.6 million in attorneys fees — all of which was financed by taxpayers — following public records lawsuits.

Press for the PRESS Act

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed his support this week for the PRESS Act, the strongest shield bill Congress has ever proposed. One of the most important things reporters can do is write about the PRESS Act in news reports or editorials, and non-journalists can help spread the word with op-eds and letters to the editor. Read more in our newsletter.

NYPD must stop arresting journalists

Earlier this month, NYPD officers violently tackled journalist Reed Dunlea and arrested him while he attempted to cover a pro-Palestinian protest for his podcast. In a letter to the Brooklyn District Attorney calling for the charges to be dropped, FPF wrote that "arresting reporters is a crude form of censorship." Read more in our newsletter.

Indictment threatens digital journalism

The disturbing indictment against journalist Tim Burke reportedly arises in part from Burke’s dissemination of outtakes from a 2022 Tucker Carlson interview with Ye. Federal prosecutors accuse Burke of “scouring” the internet for news and failing to obtain express authorization before accessing information posted on public websites. Requiring journalists to get permission to report news is, obviously, problematic. Read more in our newsletter.

Help save the First Amendment

The High Court in London is hearing arguments this week on whether to extradite Julian Assange to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act for obtaining and publishing secret documents from a source — also known as journalism. We’re doing everything we can to urge the Department of Justice to drop the Espionage Act charges against Assange ahead of his potential extradition. You can help.

Assange case threatens journalism

Next week, the High Court in London will consider whether Julian Assange should be extradited to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act for obtaining government secrets from a source and publishing them. Even if you don’t like Assange, or don’t think he’s a journalist, his case poses an existential threat to the First Amendment rights of the journalists you do like.

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