Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press


The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that provides pro bono legal services and resources to and on behalf of journalists. The Reporters Committee attorneys pursue litigation, offers direct representations, regularly submits amicus (or “friend-of-the-court”) briefs, and provides other legal assistance on matters involving the First Amendment, press freedom, freedom of information, and court access issues. Through this work, the organization serves a large network of news organizations, reporters, editors, media lawyers and others who need pro bono legal support. The Reporters Committee was formed in 1970 after New York Times reporter Earl Caldwell was ordered to reveal his sources within the Black Panthers. This led to a meeting among journalists... to discuss the need to provide legal assistance and resources to protect journalists’ First Amendment rights. They eventually garnered enough support from foundations and news organizations to build a staff and recruit attorneys willing to volunteer their services. They started a legal defense hotline for journalists seeking guidance on free press and information issues, the first magazine for the press devoted to news media law developments, and the first service center offering free help to the press on accessing federal and state public records.


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  • Finding that the need for police scrutiny outweighs officer privacy, a New York appeals court rejected Tuesday a challenge from the city’s largest police union that would have blocked public access to body-cam footage of three police-related shootings. Representing roughly 36,000 [police] officers, the PBA [Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association] hired one of President Donald Trump’s personal law firms for the fight...“To hold otherwise would defeat the purpose of the body-worn-camera program to promote increased transparency and public accountability,” a three-judge panel of the New York Appellate Division’s First Department unanimously found. The Washington-based advocacy group Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press led more than a dozen media organizations in... the fight...
  • The public could soon learn more about the FBI’s practice of impersonating documentary film crews as part of its criminal investigations. The nonprofit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records about this technique. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia March 1 rejected the FBI’s attempt to keep those records private.

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