DeSantis, Aiming At A Favorite Foil, Wants To Roll Back Press Freedom

The Florida governor and possible presidential candidate is the latest in a string of Republicans to target the Supreme Court decision that has long protected journalists accused of defamation.

Tom Cotton Blocks Press Freedom Act, Wants Government To Compel Journalists To Reveal Sources Of ‘Damaging Leaks’

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) blocked the Press Freedom Act on the Senate floor on Wednesday as Democrats tried to fast-track passage of the bill that has already been approved by the House. Sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the legislation would prohibit the government from forcing journalists and telecommunications companies to disclose certain information. Cotton cited the Pentagon Papers, which were leaked to and published by the New York Times and showed the extent to which the government was lying about the Vietnam War, as an example of why the press should be held accountable.


The Biden Administration’s Weasel Words On Press Freedom

Jon Allsop: “It’s not uncommon for U.S. leaders to skirt press-freedom issues in choreographed encounters with foreign counterparts with questionable records in that area. But the state of threat facing Mexican journalists is hardly a faraway issue: two of the reporters killed so far this year died in Tijuana, just across the border from San Diego; in the past, Mexican journalists killed close to the US border have covered it, or lived and worked on both sides of it. And, more broadly, press freedom is uncommonly front of mind in U.S. foreign affairs right now.”

Attempt To Seize Post Reporters’ Email Data Came Day Before Barr Left Office

Newly unsealed court files shed more light on a contentious leak investigation.


The Supreme Court Inches Closer To A Press Freedom Showdown

At the Supreme Court, today’s lonely dissenting opinion sometimes grows into tomorrow’s constitutional law. So take note of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s 11-page dissent on the last day of the just-completed term, in which he argues that the court should have heard a challenge to its 1964 landmark holding in New York Times v. Sullivan.

Fox News Says Smartmatic Lawsuit Is Threat To Press Freedoms

Fox News filed another response to Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit, contending that its on-air personalities were protected by the First Amendment as they amplified President Donald Trump’s unfounded allegations of massive election fraud following the 2020 presidential election. “Smartmatic strains to make this lawsuit seem like a garden-variety defamation suit rather than a glaring threat to core First Amendment freedoms,” the company’s legal team, led by Paul Clement of Kirkland & Ellis, said in a brief filed in New York Supreme Court. The legal team also is representing Fox Corp., the parent company of Fox News.

Iowa Journalist Who Was Arrested At Protest Is Found Not Guilty

In a rare case, Andrea Sahouri, a Des Moines Register reporter, was prosecuted after she was arrested while covering a protest against racism and police violence last May.

PBS’s ‘Frontline’ To Stream Philippines Press Freedom Film


Broadcasters Combat Misinformation With Focus On Facts

This week, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology is continuing its series of hearings on how misinformation and disinformation — the lies of the 21st century — have impacted recent events in our nation. As lawmakers explore this issue, they should be mindful of the vital role radio and television broadcasters play in our communities by exposing lies, uncovering the truth and reporting the facts.

Covering Pro-Trump Mobs, The News Media Became A Target

“Murder the media” was scratched into a door of the Capitol. Violent protesters smashed equipment and punched a photographer. Above, pAssociated Press/Jose Luis Magana)


Journalism Got More Dangerous In 2020

Journalism is becoming a steadily more dangerous profession around the world, including in the United States. The year 2020, with its global pandemic and widespread social unrest, continued the trend. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual survey, more journalists were in prison on Dec. 1 — 274 — than in any previous year.

NC Judge Isn’t Letting Journalists Into Courtroom

Judge Fred Wilkins has given no reason for the order in a county wracked by racial justice protests. That’s causing concern for transparency advocates.

NYT Reporter Removed From Trump Rally In Michigan

Seattle Media Appeal Police Subpoena

Four television stations and the Seattle Times argued in the Tuesday filing that their unpublished images are protected by the state’s reporter shield law, and a King County Superior Court judge erred when ordering their release,

DHS Had ‘Intelligence Reports’ On Journalists

A Homeland Security office has disseminated three reports on tweets written by two journalists who published leaked, unclassified documents. Current and former officials described it as an alarming use of a system meant to share information about suspected terrorists and violent actors.

SPJ: Judge’s Order For Media To Turn Over Protest Images ‘A Dangerous Overreach’

Iowa Prosecutor: No Time For Evidence Against Arrested Reporter

Brad Kinkade, an assistant Polk County attorney, told Judge Christopher Kemp that because Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri had only been charged with misdemeanors, the case was considered a low-priority and wasn’t worth the time needed to provide evidence the defense has requested.

Press Freedom Has Caught COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is a threat to news media in the United States and around the world because of the financial impact from the loss of advertising.  But you already knew that, didn’t you?  Did you know though that it is also a threat to press freedom? Various journalism groups say politicians and government officials are using COVID-19 concerns as an excuse to restrict, and in some cases, attack the press.

FCC Rejects Virus Statements Petition

The FCC — in this case comprising the chairman, the general counsel and the Media Bureau chief — has flatly, and strongly, rejected a petition by Free Press seeking a government investigation into broadcasters who aired statements by the President Trump during coronavirus briefings and “related commentary,” arguing that the investigation would itself curtail a free press.

Tenn. Lawmaker Wants To Classify CNN, WaPo As ‘Fake News’

What Newsrooms Owe Student Journalists

RTDNA Opposes State Department’s Ban Of NPR Journalist

Trump Praises Pompeo For Doing ‘A Good Job On’ NPR Reporter

State Dept. Bars NPR Reporter From Pompeo Trip

NATPE 2020

Tartikoff Honorees Push Diversity, Press Freedom

On Wednesday evening, NATPE presented its 17th annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards at a dinner in Miami. The winners (l-r): Marcos Santana, president of NBCUniversal’s Telemundo Global Studios; Courtney A. Kemp, television creator, producer and writer; Karey Burke, ABC Entertainment president; actress Christine Baranski; and Jeff Zucker, chairman, WarnerMedia News and Sports and president, CNN Worldwide. The dinner benefits the NATPE Educational Foundation, with a portion going to the Broadcasters Federation of America.

Trump’s Scheme To Punish CNN

President Trump has made two major attempts (so far) to use his power to intimidate and control independent media. The second attempt was his intervention to deny Amazon a $10 billion Pentagon contract as retribution against the Washington Post. The first was ordering the Justice Department to block an AT&T merger, in order to punish CNN. And while the courts ultimately stymied the latter move, Trump is attempting to keep up public pressure on AT&T and its ownership of CNN.


Free Press Getting Squeezed In Democracies

The corruption indictments issued for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week include charges that he sought to manipulate the media to secure more favorable coverage. Such interventions have become more prevalent around the world, including in democracies. As we’ve seen in places like Russia and Turkey, one of the surest signs democracy is being eroded is a crackdown on independent media.

Nattering Nabobs Of News Criticism

Fifty years ago today, Spiro Agnew laid out a blueprint for attacking the press. In his attacks on television news, Agnew struck a chord with conservatives who had long regarded the media with suspicion. Nixon later called Agnew’s speech a “turning point” in his presidency.

Press Freedom Advocates Troubled By Iowa Suit

A trial begins Monday, Sept. 23, in an unusual lawsuit in which former Davenport, Iowa, city administrator Craig Malin (above) alleges the Quad-City Times newspaper improperly interfered with his employment contract by publishing false and misleading stories and editorials about his official actions. Press freedom advocates say the case is troubling and could undermine First Amendment protections for the news media

First E.W. Scripps Fellow For Press Freedom Named

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has appointed Shannon Jankowski its first E.W. Scripps Fellow for Press Freedom. The two-year fellowship, established through the support of The E.W. Scripps Co., focuses on supporting local enterprise and investigative journalism, including bolstering access to public records and encouraging greater government transparency. “Scripps is committed to supporting local […]

Scripps, Reporters Committee Join Forces

They form a partnership to advance enterprise journalism, open records.

US Slides Down Global Press Freedom Rankings

Journalists are battling a rising tide of hatred, violence and persecution around the world, an international watchdog has warned, as authoritarian regimes clamp down on press freedom and leading democracies including the United States move down the global rankings.

RTDNA Applauds Senate Press Freedom Resolution


How Sinclair Helps Spread Anti-Press Message

The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik: “Sinclair is in my backyard with its headquarters in Hunt Valley. And while I suspect I have written more about it the last two years than any other media critic in the country, it’s not enough when an institution that sells itself as journalism is spreading a propagandistic message with the potential to further inflame the passions of a hyper-polarized country careening toward midterms.”

Press: We’re Not Enemies Of The People

NEW YORK (AP) — Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President Donald Trump’s attacks on “fake news” with a coordinated series of editorials in defense of a free press on Thursday — and, not surprisingly, Trump didn’t take it silently. The campaign was set in motion by an editor at the Boston Globe, […]

Trump: ‘Fake News’ Media Can ‘Cause War’

On Sunday, the president reiterated his claim that “fake news” outlets are “the enemy of the people” and called journalists “very dangerous and sick” in some of his most inflammatory comments about the press.

Judge Vacates Order Restricting LA Times

A federal judge on Tuesday lifted a controversial order requiring The Los Angeles Times to delete information in an article published over the weekend. U.S. District Judge John Walter walked back his original decision after the Times protested with the support of newsrooms across the country, citing First Amendment concerns.

Trump Returns To Attacks On Media

President Trump attacked the media once again on Thursday, calling them “downright dishonest” and “really bad people” during a campaign-style rally in Montana.

RTDNA Supports Journalists In Charlottesville

The RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force is offering support to journalists in Charlottesville, Va., who may have been arrested while covering Saturday’s protests involving alt-right nationalist organizations and groups opposing them.


Fox News Defends The Media – Sometimes

Is Fox News a stalwart defender of the press freedoms it depends on? Well, that may depend on the year. It might even depend on who is the president.