First Look Media Announces Expansion of its Press Freedom Defense Fund
Up to $Six Million to Support Journalists, Filmmakers & News Organizations who are Fighting Legal Challenges where Freedom of the Press is at Stake
[New York, NY] – First Look Media today announced the expansion of its Press Freedom Defense Fund. Originally launched in July 2014 as the Press Freedom Litigation Fund, the re-launched Fund will support journalists, filmmakers, whistleblowers and news organizations pursuing legal fights in which a substantial public interest, freedom of the press or related human and civil rights are at stake.
As part of this effort, First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund (PFDF) is increasing its funding to two million dollars and committing an additional two million dollars in matching funds, totaling six million dollars in funding at a fully subscribed level, to help protect independent journalism. Journalists, filmmakers or news organizations seeking to find out more or apply for assistance from the Fund can do so at First Look Media’s website here.
Speaking at the Reporters Committee 2017 Awards Dinner, First Look Media President Michael Bloom said, “Our company is founded on the belief that a true democracy is predicated on freedom of expression and of the press. It’s our goal to continue offering this legal support to fearless journalists and others whose credibility and independence are threatened because of their crucial work in holding the powerful accountable.”
First Look Media is also partnering with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) to help evaluate requests for support from the Press Freedom Defense Fund. FLM and Democracy Fund have previously granted nearly one million dollars to the Reporters Committee for general operating support to help carry out its important work in providing training and legal guidance to journalists and news organizations.
David Boardman, RCFP Steering Committee Chair said, “Reporters Committee stands ready as a first responder to attacks on the free press, and we’re honored to partner with First Look Media in its expansion of the Press Freedom Defense Fund at such a crucial time. Reporters and news organizations will now have access to the resources they need to face a growing number of legal challenges.”
Additionally, First Look Media is creating an advisory committee comprised of First Amendment experts to help guide the Fund’s process. The committee is currently in formation.
Previous grants under the Press Freedom Defense Fund have been used to fund challenges to policies or actions that restrict press freedom or obstruct access to essential information, in the United States and around the world. Examples of cases that have received the Fund’s support include: news outlets or independent journalists facing denials of Freedom of Information Act requests; motions to quash subpoenas seeking source information or journalistic material; defamation cases where the underlying report concerns a matter of public interest; access cases to closed proceedings or sealed documents; and amicus efforts in support of press freedom.
The expansion of FLM’s Press Freedom Defense Fund, along with $12 million in grants previously announced (here) jointly by First Look Media and Democracy Fund, represent a continued commitment to First Amendment values, with more announcements planned.
Omidyar Group organizations, including Democracy Fund, First Look Media, Humanity United, and Omidyar Network, are actively investing in journalism given its critical role in a healthy democracy. These investments include supporting: the creation and preservation of high-quality news outlets; training and fellowship opportunities for journalists; partnerships and efforts to combat hate, misinformation, and disinformation; investigative journalism, including digital security and legal protections; press freedoms; and, experiments to expand local news ecosystems and newsroom diversity.
About FIRST LOOK MEDIA:
A bold, independent spirit defines everything we do at First Look Media – from journalism that holds the powerful accountable to arts & entertainment that shapes our culture. Launched by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, First Look Media is built on the belief that freedom of expression, diverse voices, and fiercely independent perspectives are vital to a healthy democracy and a vibrant culture. As part of its not-for-profit work, First Look Media also staunchly supports the First Amendment and press freedoms through various philanthropic efforts.
About REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS:
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 forcing reporters to name confidential sources. Today it provides pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support, and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. Funded by corporate, foundation and individual contributions, the Reporters Committee serves the nation’s leading news organizations; thousands of reporters, editors, and media lawyers; and many more who use our online and mobile resources.
For more information contact:
Jeannie Kedas / First Look Media / 347-709-0356 / [email protected]
Jenn Topper / Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press / 202-795-9304 / [email protected]