Freedom of the Press Foundation Established

Cybersecurity has certainly become a serious topic of discussion in the last few years, particularly since the emergence of WikiLeaks, a whistleblower organization that seeks to make public the private doings of the government and other large organizations. This calls national security into question as it hangs in a delicate balance with freedom of the press, freedom of information, and a citizen’s right to know.

Yesterday, the Freedom of the Press Foundation was established to fund four media outlets: The National Security Archive, MuckRock News, The UpTake, and WikiLeaks. The press release reads:

“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.”

Co-founder Trevor Timm continues:

“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. 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.”

Two Huffington Post writers published an article about the initiative (of which they are involved) titled Crowdfunding the Right to Know, which along with social media outlets like Twitter, is becoming a means to penetrate the mainstream media’s monopoly on information and, most importantly, perception.

After WikiLeaks exposed the Pentagon Papers in 2010, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Representative Peter King (R-NY) pressured certain financial organizations that allowed funding processing for Wikileaks such as PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, and Bank of America, to stop accepting donations to that website. This eliminated 95% of WikiLeaks funding, almost overnight. As stated by Freedom of the Press Foundation, funding is a form of speech, and limiting such funding is thus a limit on free speech.

After all, the Citizens United Supreme Court case offered protections to corporations’ free speech via campaign finance. Doesn’t good journalism warrant the same protections? Or, a fierce offensive to ensure its perpetuation?