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Learn more about how press freedom shaped our nation

America’s strong press freedom protections — including the First Amendment’s clear prohibition on the restriction of “freedom of … the press” — only exist because people fought for them, from the founding of the country to the present day. Understanding the history of press freedom in the U.S. is essential to protecting it. Here are some key moments that have shaped your right to know.

1735

1735

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

Crown v. John Peter Zenger

A jury took just 10 minutes to acquit Zenger, publisher of The New York Weekly Journal, of seditious libel after he published criticism of British royal governor of New York William Cosby.

Before the trial, Governor Cosby had ordered a public burning of the newspaper and offered a reward of 50 pounds for the secret identities of the Journal’s writers. This case set the groundwork for press freedom in the U.S.

1791

1791

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

BILL OF RIGHTS ADOPTED

On December 15, 1791, our nation amended the Constitution to enshrine our essential rights in the Bill of Rights, which included the First Amendment to ensure the protection of Americans’ freedoms of speech, press, assembly, religion, and petition.

1798

1798

THREATENED OUR RIGHT

FIRST SEDITION ACT PASSED

Fines and imprisonment were used as retaliation against anyone who would “write, print, utter or publish… any false, scandalous and malicious writing” against the government. At the time, 20 newspaper editors were arrested, and some were imprisoned.



The Sedition Act was in direct violation of the First Amendment and became an important issue in the 1800 election campaign. Upon assuming the presidency in 1801, Thomas Jefferson pardoned those still serving sentences under the Sedition Act, and Congress soon repaid their fines.

1801

1801

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

ALEXANDER HAMILTON ESTABLISHED THE NEW YORK POST

Hamilton founded the New York Evening Post, which, now called the New York Post, is one of the oldest continuously published newspapers in the U.S.

1804

1804

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

PEOPLE V. CROSWELL

The legal precedent that truth is a defense against libel charges was established. This was the same argument used by John Peter Zenger’s attorneys. Alexander Hamilton, who had just founded the New York Post three years before, successfully argued the case to New York’s highest court.

1808

1808

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

EL MISISIPI ESTABLISHED

The first Spanish-language newspaper in the U.S. began publishing in 1808 and advocated for the independence of Spanish colonies in the Western Hemisphere.

1827

1827

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

FREEDOM’S JOURNAL FOUNDED

On the front page of the first African American-owned and operated newspaper, founders Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm wrote, “We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.”

1828

1828

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

THE CHEROKEE PHOENIX FOUNDED

Elias Boudinot, the Phoenix’s founder and first editor, oversaw the world’s first Native American newspaper as it reported on the campaign of harassment and attacks following Georgia’s passage of anti-Indian laws. After unflattering portrayals of the postmaster who sold liquor to the Cherokee, the post office cut off delivery of the newspaper’s supplies.




“This new era has not only wrested from us our rights and privileges as a people,” Boudinot said, “it has closed the channel through which we could formerly obtain our news.”

1846

1846

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WAS FORMED

Five newspapers in New York City formed the first American news agency, the Associated Press, to share the costs of reporting on the Mexican-American War. The AP pioneered the model of a newsgathering organization that would sell “on the spot” reports to subscribers.


1861

1861

THREATENED OUR RIGHT

GOVERNMENT ATTEMPTED TO CENSOR CIVIL WAR PRESS

Shortly after the attack on Fort Sumter, the government tried to censor the wartime press by taking control of the telegraph wires. The effort failed when reporters used traditional mail instead.

1871

1871

HELD POWERS ACCOUNTABLE

REPORTING ENDED BOSS TWEED’S CONTROL OVER NEW YORK CITY

Leaks to the New York Times detailed corruption by “Boss” William Tweed, the head of the New York City political machine known as Tammany Hall. Efforts by the Times and Thomas Nast — the famous political cartoonist then at Harper’s Weekly — led to Tweed’s arrest and downfall.

1876

1876

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

ELIZA JANE NICHOLSON BECAME FIRST FEMALE NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER

Nicholson inherited the New Orleans Times-Picayune from her late husband and managed to triple its circulation. She pioneered innovations such as a children’s page, “society” reporting, and the first women’s advice column. She also added sports coverage, poetry, and literary work to the paper.

1884

1884

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

CHARLES DOW PIONEERED FINANCIAL REPORTING

Dow, a journalist and co-founder of Dow Jones & Company, created the first two-page financial bulletin and the first stock index, which averaged the price of certain stocks in part to measure broader economic health. The bulletin would become the Wall Street Journal.


1887

1887

HELD POWERS ACCOUNTABLE

NELLIE BLY EXPOSED MISTREATMENT IN ASYLUM

Bly had herself committed to a New York City asylum and exposed the institution’s horrific conditions in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World.



New York City authorities were so embarrassed by her report that the municipal government appropriated more money to the care of the mentally ill. A grand jury also convened to investigate the abuse and poor treatment of the patients — resulting in improved conditions.

1889

1889

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

IDA B. WELLS BECAME CO-OWNER AND EDITOR OF THE FREE SPEECH AND HEADLIGHT

An African American former teacher, Wells wrote about race and politics, and was instrumental in advancing both the civil and women’s rights movements.



In 1892, Wells left Memphis after a mob burned down her press in retaliation for her reports on lynching. She continued her fearless journalism and activism until her death in 1931.

1892

1892

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

BALTIMORE AFRO-AMERICAN FOUNDED

John H. Murphy, Sr., was born into slavery and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1897, he purchased the Baltimore Afro-American, which had been founded by the Reverend William Alexander in 1892. Often just called the Afro, it is today the longest-running African American newspaper in the country. The paper became a cornerstone of the growing African American press and has crusaded for racial justice issues for more than a century.

1896

1896

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

MARYLAND BECAME FIRST STATE TO PROTECT REPORTER-SOURCE CONFIDENTIALITY

All states save two have protections in place that create a “reporter’s privilege,” meaning that reporters can’t be forced by the government to identify confidential sources. Maryland became the first state to pass one of these “shield laws” in 1896 after a Baltimore Sun reporter spent five days in jail for refusing to disclose one of his sources for a story about city corruption. Although Congress has never passed a federal shield law, some courts have relied on part of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Branzburg v. Hayes to recognize a partial “privilege.”

1902

1902

HELD POWERS ACCOUNTABLE

IDA TARBELL TARGETED STANDARD OIL IN MCCLURE’S

Tarbell covered the unethical business practices of John D. Rockefeller’s company in a series of articles that prompted attention from both policymakers and the general public.



In 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court found Standard Oil to be an illegal monopoly and ordered it to be broken into 34 individual companies.

1905

1905

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

CHICAGO DEFENDER ESTABLISHED

Born to freedmen parents who had been enslaved before the Civil War, Robert Abbot was a lawyer and newspaper publisher who founded the Chicago Defender in 1905 for a primarily African American audience. The paper became one of the most important voices for civil rights and attacked segregation throughout its history. At its height, the Defender’s circulation reached more than 500,000.

1917

1917

THREATENED OUR RIGHT

ESPIONAGE ACT PASSED

As the U.S. prepared to enter World War I, Congress passed the Espionage Act to stiffen penalties against activities that would benefit Germany and other adversaries — including the collection and communication of sensitive national security information.



Since 1971 the law has been used to charge at least 12 government workers (and four non-government employees) who shared classified information with journalists, which can hinder Americans’ ability to learn about government wrongdoing.

1917

1917

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

JOSEPH PULITZER CREATED THE PULITZER PRIZES

Pulitzer, who had made a fortune as the publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York World (and was the famous rival to William Randolph Hearst), established the prestigious Pulitzer Prizes. Today, the Pulitzer Prize is awarded in 21 categories and administered by Columbia University in New York, where Pulitzer also founded the Columbia School of Journalism in 1912.

1931

1931

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

NEAR V. MINNESOTA

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Minnesota law stopping the publication of “malicious, scandalous and defamatory” articles is unconstitutional under the First Amendment’s press freedom protections. Although legal action can be taken after an article is published, a journalist may not be stopped from publishing it in the first place.



In 1971, the ruling was used as a key precedent in New York Times Company v. United States, the case disputing the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

1933

1933

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

EUGENE MEYER BOUGHT THE BANKRUPT WASHINGTON POST

Former Federal Reserve governor Eugene Meyer bought the Washington Post at a bankruptcy auction. The Washington Post would go on to win 47 Pulitzer Prizes and would be a central player in many of the biggest political stories in America, including the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.

1936

1936

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

“THE KINGFISH” LOST FIGHT WITH THE PRESS AT THE SUPREME COURT

Louisiana Governor Huey “The Kingfish” Long tried to intimidate newspapers into reporting on his administration more favorably by levying a 2% tax on the papers. In a landmark decision, Grosjean v. American Press, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that while the press can be taxed like everyone else, it can’t be singled out for less favorable treatment.

1940

1940

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

FIRST TELEVISION NEWSCASTS AIRED

NBC began the first regularly scheduled television newscasts on New York’s WNBT in 1940 — a simulcast of Lowell Thomas’s radio newscast. CBS launched a dedicated television newscast in 1941 with two daily programs at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. on WCBW, also in New York. On December 7, 1941, WNBT’s announcer broke into regularly scheduled programming with the news of the Pearl Harbor attack, which became the first-ever “breaking news” bulletin.

1942

1942

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

VOICE OF AMERICA (VOA) BEGAN FIRST BROADCAST

The station was designed to combat Nazi propaganda with accurate and unbiased news and information. Today, VOA provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of more than 275 million people.

1942

1942

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

GRAND JURY REFUSED TO INDICT REPORTER AND PAPER FOR PRINTING ALLEGED GOVERNMENT SECRETS

Stanley Johnston, a war correspondent, wrote a story after the June 1942 battle at Midway that prompted the Roosevelt administration to attempt a prosecution for the publication of government secrets. The grand jury refused to indict Johnston or the Chicago Tribune, one of the papers that published the news that the Navy had advance notice of Japanese plans at Midway, after the Navy declined to provide key witnesses.

1954

1954

HELD POWERS ACCOUNTABLE

EDWARD R. MURROW AND MCCARTHYISM

Senator “Tail-Gunner Joe” McCarthy from Wisconsin tied his political fortunes to “exposing” communists in the government during the second “Red Scare.” McCarthy’s tactics — accusing people of being traitors without evidence — came to be known as “McCarthyism.”

In 1954, CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, known for his tagline “good night, and good luck,” took on McCarthy in a special episode of the television newsmagazine show “See It Now,” which used McCarthy’s own speeches and comments to undermine the senator’s credibility. The episode is widely seen as contributing to McCarthy’s disgrace and downfall.

1960

1960

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE TELEVISED

On September 26, 1960, then-Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon held the first formal general presidential election debate at the studios of CBS’s WBBM-TV. It was also the first such debate to be shown on television. CBS, NBC, and ABC News reporters sat on the panel, and the debate is widely believed to have contributed to Nixon’s defeat and Kennedy’s election.

1964

1964

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT LED TO HISTORIC PRESS PROTECTIONS

During the civil rights movement, Southern politicians tried to use harassing defamation lawsuits to intimidate activists into stopping their calls for equal rights for African Americans. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court finally overturned the Sedition Act of 1798 when it held that minor, unintentional mistakes in a news story about a politician can’t be the basis for a defamation lawsuit. The decision in New York Times v. Sullivan created one of the most important protections for free speech under the First Amendment.

1965

1965

HELD POWERS ACCOUNTABLE

NEWS COVERAGE OF “BLOODY SUNDAY” LED TO VOTING RIGHTS ACT


At the height of the civil rights movement, marchers from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, were brutally attacked by riot police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Coverage of “Bloody Sunday,” as it came to be known, dramatically affected public opinion on equal rights. Days after President Lyndon Johnson saw televised coverage of the attack, he called on Congress to pass what would become the Voting Rights Act, one of the most important racial justice measures in American history.

1966

1966

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA) ENACTED

FOIA guarantees access to public records of all departments, agencies, and offices of the executive branch of the federal government, including the Executive Office of the President. Sitting presidents, Congress, and the federal judiciary are exempt.


All 50 states also have freedom of information laws that govern access to documents at state and local levels. Fifty years later, in 2016, FOIA was updated to set limits on the use of some exemptions.

1967

1967

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

CONGRESS CREATED THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING

Following several years of calls for publicly funded, non-commercial programming, Congress passed a law creating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to promote and support access to public television (like Sesame Street, which debuted on November 10, 1969, and remains on the air today). The formation of CPB led to the creation of the Public Broadcasting Service, or PBS, in 1969, and National Public Radio, or NPR, in 1970.

1971

1971

HELD POWERS ACCOUNTABLE

PENTAGON PAPERS

U.S. military analyst Daniel Ellsberg gave the New York Times a large portion of a classified Department of Defense study of U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945–1967, revealing that multiple presidential administrations had deceived the American people about the nation’s involvement in Vietnam. The Washington Post also received the documents and began to publish its own series of stories on what became known as the “Pentagon Papers.”



The government fought to prevent the continued publication of the documents, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government can’t stop the press from publishing government secrets.


1971

1971

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

NETWORK REFUSED TO HAND OVER UNTELEVISED FOOTAGE TO CONGRESS

In the midst of the Vietnam War, CBS aired a controversial documentary titled “The Selling of the Pentagon,” which exposed a $30 million Pentagon propaganda operation. Some had criticized the documentary for possibly editing interviews, and Congress issued subpoenas for unaired footage. President of CBS Frank Stanton faced a possible jail sentence but steadfastly refused to turn over the footage. Congress backed down, and Stanton was awarded a special Peabody Award for his defense of the First Amendment.

1972

1972

HELD POWERS ACCOUNTABLE

WASHINGTON POST REPORTERS INVESTIGATED THE WATERGATE BREAK-IN

A confidential source known as “Deep Throat” helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Nixon administration’s involvement in the burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex. The scandal ultimately led to President Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

1974

1974

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

OPINION REPORTING GAINED KEY FREE SPEECH PROTECTIONS

A candidate for public office tried to sue the Miami Herald for refusing to print his reply to a critical editorial. President Nixon, embattled in the Watergate scandal, strongly supported a federal “right-of-reply” law, but the U.S. Supreme Court soundly reaffirmed the editorial independence of newspapers in the 1974 Miami Herald v. Tornillo decision.

1976

1976

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

BARBARA WALTERS BECAME FIRST FEMALE ANCHOR

Broadcaster Barbara Walters became the first woman to co-anchor a national network newscast when she was tapped for ABC Evening News, following her pioneering work as co-host of The Today Show.

1976

1976

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

GOVERNMENT IN THE SUNSHINE ACT PASSED

The Sunshine Act requires that government agency meetings must be open to the public, and that the public be given notice before the meeting takes place, unless a specific exemption applies.

1978

1978

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

MAX ROBINSON BECAME FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN NETWORK NEWS ANCHOR

ABC News revamped its nightly broadcast into “World News Tonight,” which would be anchored by the three-man team of Peter Jennings from London, Frank Reynolds in Washington, and Robinson in Chicago, making Robinson the first African American anchor for a national network newscast.

1979

1979

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS LED TO CREATION OF “NIGHTLINE”

On November 8, 1979, four days after college students who supported the Iranian Revolution took 52 Americans hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, ABC News created what would become “Nightline.” The program, which aired at the same time as “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” was originally titled “The Iran Crisis — Americans Held Hostage” and foreshadowed the rise of cable television and round-the-clock news programming.

1980

1980

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

PRESS WON LANDMARK OPEN COURTS CASE

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia decision recognized the right of the public to attend criminal trials and the principle that the First Amendment relies on the press as the main way the public gets the information it needs to hold government accountable. The case arose after the judge in a high-profile murder trial closed the proceeding completely to the public.

1985

1985

MADE OUR VOICES HEARD

PRESIDENT REAGAN DECLARED AUGUST 4, 1985, FREEDOM OF THE PRESS DAY

In a proclamation, Reagan wrote, “Today, our tradition of a free press as a vital part of our democracy is as important as ever, the news media are now using modern techniques to bring our citizens information not only on a daily basis, but instantaneously as important events occur.”



“This flow of information helps make possible an informed electorate and so contributes to our national system of self-government. Freedom of the Press Day is an appropriate time to remember the contributions a free press has made and is continuing to make to the development of our Nation.”



In 1993, the UN General Assembly designated May 3 World Press Freedom Day. Each year on May 3, the U.S. joins the international community to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom.

2002

2002

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

DANIEL PEARL ABDUCTED AND KILLED

On January 23, 2002, Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl disappeared in Karachi, Pakistan. The following month, investigators obtained video confirming fears that Pearl was murdered. His body was eventually found in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Karachi. A group calling itself the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. In July 2002, four men were found guilty in connection with his murder, and in 2007, the “architect” of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, claimed to have personally killed Pearl.

2003

2003

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

MICHAEL KELLY KILLED IN IRAQ

Kelly, the then-editor of The Atlantic, was the first U.S. journalist to be killed during the Iraq War in 2003. The Humvee in which he was traveling veered off of an embankment after coming under fire from Iraqi forces.

2003

2003

HELD POWERS ACCOUNTABLE

SPOTLIGHT WON PULITZER PRIZE FOR PUBLIC SERVICE

In 2002, the oldest continuously operating investigative team, the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight,” began a groundbreaking series revealing the massive, systematic cover-up of child sexual abuse cases by the Boston Archdiocese of the Catholic Church. The series prompted more victims to come forward and led to key reforms. Spotlight won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003, and the film based on the story won the Oscar for best picture in 2015.

2005

1828

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER JUDITH MILLER JAILED FOR 85 DAYS

A federal judge held Miller in contempt for refusing to reveal the identity of her confidential sources in an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s name by White House officials.

2005

2005

HELD POWERS ACCOUNTABLE

PRESS REVEALED POST-9/11 GOVERNMENT OVERREACH

Multiple leaks from the government led to landmark reporting on the existence of “black site” secret prisons overseas and the use of harsh “enhanced interrogation” tactics like waterboarding. Investigative reporters also discovered and reported on a secret surveillance program that captured the communications of Americans speaking to targets overseas.

2005

2005

THREATENED OUR RIGHT

NEWSPAPER AD REVENUE BEGAN DECADE-LONG DECLINE


A 2015 Brookings Institution study showed that newspaper advertising peaked in 2005 but has markedly declined in the decade since, just one of many indicators of the financial challenges faced by traditional news organizations in the face of digital media. Although the industry continues to experiment with new ways to maintain its financial health — including innovations like nonprofit newsrooms — newsroom employment, revenues, and the number of news outlets continue to decline today.

2008

1828

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

DAVID ROHDE IS KIDNAPPED

In Afghanistan doing research for a book, New York Times reporter David Rohde was kidnapped along with his interpreter by members of what is believed to be a group allied with the Taliban. Rohde and his interpreter, Tahir Ludin, managed to escape after seven months.

2012

2012

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

AUSTIN TICE ABDUCTED

On August 14, 2012, freelance journalist Austin Tice attempted to leave Syria for Lebanon after spending time there reporting on the civil war in Syria. Five weeks later, however, a video surfaced showing Tice being detained by a group of unidentified armed men. Seven years later, Tice is still being held captive. He is believed to be held by supporters of the Assad government.

2013

2013

THREATENED OUR RIGHT

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SECRETLY SEIZED PRESS RECORDS

The Department of Justice secretly seized two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for the Associated Press (AP), even after the AP had ensured it was not jeopardizing national security in reporting a story about the CIA disrupting a terrorist attack.



Gary Pruitt, AP’s then-president and CEO, subsequently discussed the impact: “Some longtime trusted sources have become nervous and anxious about talking with us — even on stories unrelated to national security. In some cases, government employees we once checked in with regularly will no longer speak to us by phone. Others are reluctant to meet in person.”

2014

2014

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

JOURNALISTS ARRESTED AND HARASSED COVERING FERGUSON PROTESTS

At least 21 journalists were arrested as they attempted to cover protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of Michael Brown. Many other journalists reported being harassed, questioned, and threatened.



Journalists’ photographs, video footage, and reports from the scene in Ferguson played a crucial part in sparking a nationwide debate over relations between the community and law enforcement, prompting government responses to the Ferguson protests.

2014

2014

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

FREELANCE JOURNALISTS JAMES FOLEY AND STEVEN SOTLOFF EXECUTED BY THE ISLAMIC STATE

Foley and Sotloff were abducted while reporting in Syria and executed by members of the Islamic State. The brutal murders were videotaped and distributed for all the world to see.



The killings sparked changes in the way news organizations ensure the safety of freelancers on dangerous assignments. The intense public scrutiny that followed the murders led to reforms in the U.S. approach to hostage situations.

2014

2014

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

JASON REZAIAN AND YEGANEH SALEHI ARRESTED IN IRAN

Iranian-American journalist and The Washington Post’s Tehran Correspondent Jason Rezaian, and his wife, Iranian journalist Yeganeh Salehi, were arrested by Iranian authorities in July 2014. They were put on secret trial and convicted of espionage in 2015. Salehi was jailed for two months, and Rezaian was imprisoned for 544 days before his release in 2016.

2017

2017

HELD POWERS ACCOUNTABLE

#METOO

Prompted by investigative reporting on accusations of sexual abuse against film producer Harvey Weinstein, the #metoo movement started to spread virally on social media in October 2017. The movement would lead to watershed reporting on and greater public awareness of sexual predation in American society — and it continues to spur calls for new laws and policies to reduce the incidence of such abuse.

2018

2018

THREATENED OUR RIGHT

CAPITAL GAZETTE SHOOTING

On June 28, 2018, a man killed four journalists and a sales assistant at the Capital Gazette offices in Annapolis, Maryland. The incident was the deadliest mass shooting targeting a news media organization in the U.S. (the second deadliest was the murders of WDBJ television reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward in Roanoke, Virginia, in 2015). The alleged perpetrator is currently awaiting trial. He had unsuccessfully sued the paper for defamation.

2018

2018

PROTECTED OUR RIGHT

PRESS WON TWO WHITE HOUSE PASS CASES

In 2018 and 2019, courts in Washington, D.C., ruled that the White House can’t arbitrarily revoke or suspend important security credentials for White House reporters, known as “hard passes.” Hard passes give reporters physical access to White House facilities and are crucial for White House reporters to do their job. The cases reaffirm important legal protections for the press against the government. The government is appealing one of these “hard pass” cases.

2019

2019

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

JOURNALISTS INJURED COVERING PROTESTS IN PUERTO RICO


Broadcast reporter Orlando Rivera Martinez, photojournalist Joe Raedle, and documentary filmmaker Ricardo Olivero Lora were injured by rubber bullets while covering protests in San Juan, Puerto Rico (an Associated Press photographer had also been hit with rubber bullets covering a protest in 2018).



The protests began after the Centro Periodismo Investigativo published 889 pages of text messages between the governor and his inner circle. The text messages included misogynistic comments, homophobic slurs, and jokes about Hurricane Maria’s devastation. Puerto Rico’s governor resigned after 15 days of protests.

2019

2019

COMMITTED TO OUR RIGHT

UN CONCLUDED KHASHOGGI VICTIM OF “PREMEDITATED EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTION”

In 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S.-based contributing columnist for the Washington Post and critic of Saudi Arabia’s government, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Following a six-month investigation, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary killings, Agnes Callamard, concluded that Khashoggi was the victim of a premeditated extrajudicial execution, for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible. 



The Callamard report cites six violations of international law. Notably, the report concluded that “in killing a journalist, the State of Saudi Arabia committed an act inconsistent with a core tenet of the United Nations, the protection of freedom of expression.”

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