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The Press Freedom Defense Fund

First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund supports journalists, filmmakers, whistleblowers and news organizations pursuing legal fights where a substantial public interest, freedom of the press, or related human and civil rights are at stake.

Grants under this program are used to fund challenges to policies or actions that restrict press freedom and obstruct access to essential information in the United States and around the world.

Examples of cases that received our support include: news outlets or independent journalists facing denials of Freedom of Information Act requests; journalistic sources unjustly prosecuted under the Espionage Act; 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.

To date, the Press Freedom Defense Fund has provided grants to support the legal appeals of: U.S. Army intelligence analyst turned whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who was ultimately pardoned by former President Obama; Miranda v. Secretary of State for the Home Department in the U.K.; the defense of a defamation case launched against Sahara Reporters and its editor Patrick Sowore by Nigerian Senator Musiliu Obanikoro; and others. The Fund is also providing support for the legal defense of Reality Winner, the NSA contract employee who was arrested and charged with violation of the Espionage Act.

To assist in executing the Fund, we’re partnering with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, as well as creating an advisory council that will be comprised of First Amendment experts and journalists. The advisory committee is currently in formation. 

Journalists and lawyers who are seeking support should contact us via email at [email protected].

Applications should include a proposed litigation budget, as well as a description of how their issue furthers press freedom.