The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Tue May 10, 2005 03:31

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

A nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free legal assistance to journalists since 1970. About us. [news]

1101 WILSON BLVD., SUITE 1100, ARLINGTON, VA 22209 � (800) 336-4243 or (703) 807-2100 �

May 6: Professor files FOI suit for CIA daily briefings of President Johnson. . . . May 4: New coalition pushes "choice" over indecency regulation. . . . Omaha policeman fired for expose wins back job. . . . May 2: Kentucky A.G. rules 50-cent per page record fee is too high. . . . Schwarzenegger orders review of agency "public interest" records denials. . . . BTK records unsealed in Kansas court. . . . [more]

This site is designed to provide information to journalists and media lawyers at any time, and to let you know of the services and support we offer.

Journalists needing help with specific questions or problems can send us a message or contact us by phone at 800-336-4243.

About The
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was created in 1970 at a time when the nation's news media faced a wave of government subpoenas asking reporters to name confidential sources.

One case particularly galvanized American journalists. New York Times reporter Earl Caldwell was ordered to reveal to a federal grand jury his sources in the Black Panther organization, threatening his independence as a newsgatherer.

Caldwell's dilemma prompted a meeting at Georgetown University to discuss the need to provide legal assistance to journalists when their First Amendment rights come under fire. Among those present, or involved soon afterwards, were J. Anthony Lukas, Murray Fromson, Fred Graham, Jack Nelson, Ben Bradlee, Eileen Shanahan, Mike Wallace, Robert Maynard and Tom Wicker.

They formed a committee that operated part-time and on a shoestring (its first "office" was a desk in the press room at the U.S. Supreme Court). With support from foundations and news organizations, the founders built a staff and began recruiting attorneys to donate their services.

Almost immediately, the Committee waded into a number of free speech battles, intervening in court cases and fighting to keep Richard Nixon from retaining sole custody of his presidential papers.

In the last three decades the Committee has played a role in virtually every significant press freedom case that has come before the Supreme Court -- from Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart to Hustler Magazine v. Falwell -- as well as in hundreds of cases in federal and state courts.

The Committee has also emerged as a major national -- and international -- resource in free speech issues, disseminating information in a variety of forms, including a quarterly legal review, a bi-weekly newsletter, a 24-hour hotline, and various handbooks on media law issues.

Academicians, state and federal agencies, and Congress regularly call on the Committee for advice and expertise, and it has become the leading advocate for reporters' interest in cyberspace.

Important as these activities are, the Committee's primary mission remains serving working journalists -- 2,000 of them every year. And since its founding, no reporter has ever paid for the Committee's help in defending First Amendment rights. This is the incarnation of the founders' vision and the Committee's proudest achievement.

For more information about The Reporters Committee, write to or The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100, Arlington, VA 22209.

Contributing to the Reporters Committee

The Reporters Committee is a nonprofit organization that operates solely on donations and the sale of publications.

Although the materials on this site are available to you at no charge, we encourage you to purchase the print versions through our online order form. This ensures that you'll always have the text handy, and it helps the Committee continue to create new publications and update our current ones.

In addition, we encourage you to support the Committee directly with a donation. To make a pledge, see the donation line of the order form.



Note: The Hotline is available 24 hours for journalists and media lawyers. However, non-emergency requests will be answered more promptly during normal office hours -- 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time. For non-emergency calls or questions about our services and publications, please call (703) 807-2100. Student journalists with questions about scholastic media should call the Student Press Law Center, (703) 807-1904.

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