Press Freedom

The National Press Club Journalism Institute is dedicated to promoting an independent free press to ensure full and fair reporting on matters of public interest. We hold accountable those who inhibit journalists in their pursuit of the truth. We equip journalists with the tools to break down free press barriers. And we celebrate the privilege of an independent press to inform the public about decisions and events that affect people’s lives.

Far too many governments and institutions of influence limit the news media’s ability to operate safely and free from interference. In the U.S. or abroad, journalists have died, gone missing, been detained or arrested in their attempts to gather facts and report the news. From foreign capitals to local courthouses, politicians, judges and law enforcement agencies have subverted access to information.

With the National Press Club’s unique presence, resources, and John R. Aubuchon award for Freedom of the Press, we shine a light on these threats to press freedom wherever they arise.

The Institute also partners with the press freedom coalition to support their efforts: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press · Committee to Protect Journalists · Reporters Without Borders · Freedom Forum Institute  · James W. Foley Legacy Foundation

July 21, 2022
‘Always keep recording’: Essential safety checklists and legal advice for covering protests, rallies, and conventions

Journalists covering protests are subjected to an average of 1.6 assaults per day, with more than 85 percent perpetrated by law enforcement, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. With the combination of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, ongoing right-wing conspiracies about the validity of U.S. elections, and the prospect of domestic terrorist…

May 3, 2022
World Press Freedom Day: Highlighting the risks journalists take

Every day journalists put themselves in peril to do their jobs, facing threats like murder, kidnapping, violence, harassment, intimidation, and more.  Today, World Press Freedom Day, we honor those who risk their lives in order to hold power to account.  The National Press Club hosted a virtual discussion exploring significant developments in press freedom cases impacting…

May 2, 2022
Fixers: The people at the core of international journalism

When a Russian projectile killed Fox Cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and seriously injured correspondent Benjamin Hall in March, there was less reporting on a third casualty: Ukrainian journalist and fixer Sasha Kuvshynova. Because many aren’t aware of the important role fixers play in international journalism, we asked panelists from a discussion hosted on the topic in…

March 22, 2022
How education reporters can fight back against roadblocks to information, sources

Journalists rely on free-flowing information to do their jobs but often run into barriers of access. These can range from sluggish responses to information requests to public officials trying to prohibit staff members from talking to the press. Such obstacles to information are frustrating, and they also can be unconstitutional. “The Supreme Court has said…

March 21, 2022
The National Press Club and the Journalism Institute release statements to support press freedom around the world

The Journalism Institute promotes an independent and free press to ensure the public has full access to information that affects their lives. We hold accountable those who restrict journalists in their pursuit of the truth. We help journalists obtain the tools to break barriers to a free press. And we salute those journalists who overcome…

January 25, 2022
How to hold law enforcement accountable through public records

Police misconduct records are closed in 31 states and the District of Columbia, leaving a cloud of secrecy around law enforcement coverage, according to reporting funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. “Access to information about how your government works, and your ability to synthesize that information and present it to the general public so…

December 5, 2021
Honoring Raymond Clapper

Raymond Clapper’s storied journalism career started in 1916, when he began work as a cub reporter for The Kansas City Star while still in college. Soon after, he joined the United Press wire service in Chicago and was eventually transferred to Washington, D.C. to cover politics. By 1929, he was the UP’s Washington bureau chief….

October 8, 2021
Journalist Maria Ressa wins Nobel Peace Prize

Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov have been awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Ressa has emerged as one of the leading voices for press freedom in the Philippines amid threats to independent journalism in the country. The co-founder and CEO of Rappler was convicted in the Philippines last year on trumped-up charges of…

April 26, 2021
80 Members of Congress send bipartisan letter to President Biden urging release of journalist Austin Tice

A bipartisan letter was sent today to President Joe Biden, signed by 44 Senators (nearly half of the Senate) and 36 Representatives, asking him to work urgently toward the safe return of veteran U.S. Marine Corps captain and award-winning journalist Austin Tice, who has been held in Syria since August 14, 2012.  Austin, a Georgetown…

April 6, 2021
Tell President Biden to bring journalist Austin Tice home to his family

The family of award-winning journalist Austin Tice, who has been detained in Syria since 2012 while covering escalating conflict in the region, needs your help to urge President Joe Biden to free Austin and bring him safely home.  Tice, a writer and photographer, veteran Marine Corps captain, and Georgetown Law student, was detained three days…

March 1, 2021
3 tips on accessing public records from home

Public records are like the mirepoix of journalism: They serve as the base of a complex story. With documents in hand, reporters can uncover everything from how a gas company undermined the city of Austin’s climate change proposal to whether certain public figures have paid their taxes.  We asked Mark Walker, Freedom of Information Act…

February 19, 2021
Carry this journalists’ safety card in the field

The pandemic, Capitol insurrection and racial justice protests have challenged the security of journalists. The National Press Club Journalism Institute is providing a checklist of precautions that can protect journalists from physical harm and law enforcement encounters while reporting unrest. Below we have provided precautions to take in advance of reporting and a wallet-sized journalists’…

February 19, 2021
Institute joins court cases to support press freedom

The Journalism Institute promotes an independent and free press to ensure the public has full access to information that affects their lives. We hold accountable those who restrict journalists in their pursuit of the truth. We help journalists obtain the tools to break barriers to a free press. And we salute those journalists who overcome…

February 18, 2021
Need to file a public records request? Try these tips from two FOIA experts

“If you can get the people who are the gatekeepers to all this to get to know you — even on the phone or maybe they’ll FaceTime or Zoom with you — a lot of times they’ll just give it to you,” said Miranda Spivack, a former Washington Post editor and reporter and a journalism…

January 19, 2021
Inauguration Day reporting: 10 safety tips

When the U.S. Capitol was under siege on Jan. 6, at least nine journalists were physically attacked as well. Last week, the FBI issued a warning that armed protestors could infiltrate state capitols and Washington, D.C., in the lead-up to Inauguration Day.  As journalists prepare to cover this week’s events across the country, we’ve rounded…

September 25, 2020
My brother Austin Tice asked me to go to Syria with him. Four months later, he was taken.

I was at the beach with my family when my brother Austin called. His schedule at Georgetown Law School had prevented him from joining us. I slipped into an empty room at the little house we were renting and listened, astonished, as he told me he was planning a trip to Syria that summer of…

August 11, 2020
Journalist Austin Tice begins 9th year of detention in Syria this week

Austin Tice turns 39 years old today. He should be celebrating with friends & family, looking ahead to his next decade. Instead, he’s entering his 9th year of unjust detention in Syria. A veteran Marine Corps captain, Georgetown University graduate, and award-winning journalist, Austin was taken in Syria in 2012, days after his birthday, while…

July 25, 2020
National Press Club and NPC Journalism Institute: Seattle judge decision an attack on free press

National Press Club President Michael Freedman and National Press Club Journalism Institute President Angela Greiling Keane issued the following joint statement Friday after King County Superior Court Judge Nelson Lee in Washington State decreed that that The Seattle Times and four Seattle television stations must turn over unpublished images and video of May 30 unrest…

June 20, 2020
National Press Club and NPC Journalism Institute Statement on U.S. Agency for Global Media

The following is a joint statement from National Press Club President Michael Freedman and National Press Club Journalism Institute President Angela Greiling Keane on the decision by Michael Pack, the new chief executive of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, to dismiss the heads of the agency’s international news services. “We are deeply troubled by…

June 1, 2020
Journalism groups call for police nationwide to halt use of violence and arrests against journalists covering protests

The nation’s leading journalism and press freedom organizations today called on law enforcement, mayors and governors across the country to halt the unprecedented assault against journalists in the field covering the protests for social justice.  The following open letter to police nationwide was signed by 18 organizations including: The National Press Club (NPC), The National Press Club…

May 31, 2020
National Press Club & Journalism Institute back journalists covering protests, denounce arrests and assaults

The National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute stand in support of all the courageous journalists who have been injured, arrested or come under attack while covering the protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.  Journalists have been assaulted by protesters for simply doing their jobs….

May 29, 2020
Arrests of CNN journalists in Minneapolis denounced by National Press Club & Journalism Institute

The National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute condemn the early morning arrests of CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his production team, who were taken into custody just after 5 a.m. local time, while live on the air. They were released more than an hour later, after Gov. Tim Walz apologized to…

March 19, 2020
As we embrace sunlight in government, courts weigh demands for darkness

Sunshine Week is upon us and we join our journalism colleagues in steadfast support of government transparency. An informed public is essential in a democracy. Yet, every day brings new attempts to limit public information, restrict open deliberation and attack press freedom. March alone has cast a spotlight on the legal challenges to  the public’s…

March 17, 2020
NPC and NPCJI condemn China’s decision to expel U.S. journalists

By Rachel [email protected] The National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute condemn China’s decision to expel American journalists working for the United States’ biggest newspapers. “During this time of extraordinary international uncertainty and fear about the spread and ramifications of the coronavirus, slamming the door on independent journalism serves no good purpose for…

February 21, 2020
Institute Helps Bahamian Journalist Cover Dorian aftermath

Bahamian journalist Deandre Williamson (lower left) has been covering Hurricane Dorian and its effect on her country since it hit in September of 2019. When the National Press Club offered to help journalists covering the storm, Williamson responded. NPC Journalism Institute board member Kathy Bonk (lower right) stepped up to coordinate support. Earlier this month,…

February 19, 2020
U.S. Press Leaders to China: Rethink Expelling Journalists

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2020–The National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute urged the Chinese government on Wednesday to reconsider a plan to expel three Wall Street Journal reporters from China.  China has ordered Josh Chin, the paper’s deputy bureau chief in China, and reporters Chao Deng and Philip Wen to leave the…

January 30, 2020
President ‘should be a firm and outspoken champion of the Fourth Estate,’ Bloomberg campaign says

The National Press Club Journalism Institute asked all presidential candidates to respond to the same series of questions about press freedom, which appear below with responses from the campaign of presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg. Michael Bloomberg served three terms as mayor of New York City, from 2002 to 2013. He announced his candidacy for the…

January 15, 2020
National Press Club, Journalism Institute denounce press limits on Senate trial

The National Press Club and its Journalism Institute strongly object to restrictions on press coverage during the Senate trial of President Donald Trump. The proposed limitations are onerous, unnecessary and serve only to limit the news media’s ability to properly report on this historic event to the American public. We fully support the position taken…

December 6, 2019
Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega, unbowed, to discuss press freedom

In Ethiopia and throughout the Ethiopian diaspora, he’s recognized by his trademark long-brimmed cap. But Eskinder Nega is best known for his struggle on behalf of democracy and press freedoms. A journalist who has been pushing for an independent press in Ethiopia since his 20s, Nega for years irritated the Ethiopian government with his articles…

October 29, 2019
Journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto to exhibit paintings while awaiting asylum appeal

Journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, chased by death threats in Mexico and deportation fears in the U.S., has found his emotional peace not through the familiarity of a writer’s keyboard, but at the tip of an artist’s brush. Own your own story, therapists say, or the story will own you. As he awaits a decision on…

September 27, 2019
173 Members of Congress send bipartisan letter to White House urging release of journalist Austin Tice

A bipartisan letter was sent Friday morning to President Donald Trump, signed by 173 members of Congress, asking him to work urgently toward the safe return of veteran U.S. Marine Corps captain and award-winning journalist Austin Tice, who has been held in Syria for seven years. Tice, a Georgetown graduate and law student, was detained…

September 12, 2019
NPCJI honors Julie K. Brown with investigative journalism award

Julie K. Brown, the Miami Herald journalist who gave voice to Jeffrey Epstein’s long-ignored victims and prompted a legal re-examination of Epstein’s predatory behavior, will receive the National Press Club Journalism Institute’s 2019 Neil and Susan Sheehan award for investigative journalism. Brown’s work revealed a decade-old secret plea bargain that hid the scope of accusations…

August 2, 2019
Volunteers canvass Capitol to ‘Ask About Austin’

Austin Tice, a writer and photographer, was detained in Syria in August 2012, three days after his 31st birthday. The U.S. government believes Austin is alive and being held by an affiliate of the Syrian government. He is the only American journalist currently being held overseas. Please join the Tice family in urging the White…

July 10, 2019
Journalists under attack: How to protect yourself

The National Press Foundation and the National Press Club Journalism Institute partnered on June 28, 2019 for a workshop on situational awareness, defusing dangerous situations, and protecting yourself before, during and after an online attack. Watch the videos below to learn from the training. You can also find additional resources here and here.

June 26, 2019
Institute will be home to Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation

Next week marks the first anniversary of the deadliest assault against journalists in U.S. history. On June 28, 2018, a gunman opened fire at the offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five and injuring two. We will always remember Rob Hiaasen, Wendi Winters, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara and Rebecca Smith, as well…

June 20, 2019
Send a Message to Secretary Pompeo and Your Members of Congress

The messages below can be sent to Secretary Pompeo or your Member of Congress. Just cut and paste the text into the forms linked below, then add your name. Dear Secretary Pompeo, I am writing to urge you to continue employing all diplomatic means to secure the safe release and return of Austin Tice. As…

June 20, 2019
Austin Tice is the only U.S. journalist being held abroad

American freelance journalist Austin Tice’s last post on Twitter was Aug. 11, 2012. It was his 31st birthday and he was spending it with Free Syrian Army soldiers, the rebel forces he had been following as a war reporter since that May. Two days later, as he got ready to leave Syria for Lebanon, he…

June 20, 2019
Emilio Gutiérrez Soto appeals U.S. asylum denial

In May 2008, Mexican soldiers burst into Emilio Gutiérrez-Soto’s home and ransacked it. A month later, a friend of Gutiérrez with contacts in the military, warned him he had been placed on a hit list. His offense: Being a journalist. To Gutiérrez, the message was clear — his stories about corrupt soldiers for El Diario…

June 17, 2019
National Press Club calls on authorities to investigate murder of Mexican journalist

The National Press Club and its Journalism Institute condemn the murder of Mexican journalist Norma Sarabia Garduza and call on Mexican authorities to immediately and thoroughly investigate this cowardly assassination. She is the sixth journalist killed in Mexico this year. Sarabia, who covered crime and violence in Mexico’s southeast state of Tabasco, was gunned down…

June 15, 2019
John R. Aubuchon Award honors Press Freedom

In 2005, the National Press Club named its Freedom of the Press Award after John R. Aubuchon, a Maryland Public Television reporter and former White House correspondent who was NPC president in 2002. Aubuchon died in 2003 at age 57. The honorees are listed below. The award descriptions are based on NPC releases, the publications…