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35th Annual IDA Documentary Awards

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Amicus Award

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was founded by leading journalists and media lawyers in 1970 when the nation’s news media faced an unprecedented wave of government subpoenas seeking to force reporters to name confidential sources.

Almost 50 years later, we are the only national organization focused on delivering pro bono legal services to reporters and news outlets. Reporters Committee attorneys provide direct legal representation to journalists in litigation, amicus curiae support, and other resources to protect First Amendment freedoms
and newsgathering rights. Our mission is to protect the right to gather and distribute the news; to keep government accountable by ensuring access to public records, meetings and courtrooms; and to preserve the principles of free speech and unfettered press, as guaranteed by the First Amendment

The demand for our intervention in critical cases and advocacy for press freedom is urgent. Dwindling resources and shrinking newsrooms mean reporters often lack in-house counsel. Digital technology and growth in the nonprofit and independent media sectors have created new constituencies to be served.
Troubling efforts in local, state, and federal agencies threaten to diminish public records laws and to block access to government activity.

There are rising threats designed to intimidate the press and the public: subpoenas, libel suits, and frivolous litigation aimed at chilling speech. At the same time, anti-press rhetoric, suspensions of press credentials, arrests of reporters, and even physical violence against the media have escalated. The challenges are widespread.