9 Best Charities That Advance Freedom of the Press (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities That Advance Freedom of the Press (Complete 2022 List)

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Dennis Kamprad

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Based on a UNESCO report, press freedom has been declining worldwide, with many new laws and regulations created or modified to threaten journalists worldwide. And between 2006 and 2020 alone, more than 1,200 journalists were murdered and many more faced other forms of reprisals. Fortunately, there are many charities working to protect journalists and press freedom across the world. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for press freedom?

The best charities for press freedom are Freedom of the Press Foundation, the International Press Institute, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Other charities, such as the Committee to Protect Journalists and Free Press directly and indirectly protect journalists’ safety.

Whether you want to advance freedom of press, help offer free legal representation to persecuted journalists, or financially support innovative software that protects reporters from being spied on, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for press freedom are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Press Freedom Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate all over the world, from North and South America to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the rest of the world. And they all share the same goal of press freedom.

Most charities listed fight to directly improve the legislation of press freedom globally. While some help journalists that are incarcerated for find justice for those that got killed. Others help with advanced technology to protect journalists in the field and online.

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Press Freedom

Below are our favorite charities for press freedom:

  • Freedom of the Press Foundation
  • International Press Institute
  • Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Committee to Protect Journalists 
  • Free Press
  • National Press Club Journalism Institute 
  • BBC Media Action
  • Student Press Law Center 
  • Fundamedios Inc

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Freedom of the Press Foundation: Protecting and Empowering Public Interest Journalism in the 21st Century 

Freedom of the Press Foundation (commonly known as FPF) was founded in 2012 by Daniel Ellsberg, John Perry Barlow, Trevor Timm, and Rainey Reitman to support free speech and freedom of the press. Today, the charity is an advocacy organization focused on strengthening freedom of the press and empowering public interest journalism. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Freedom of the Press Foundation 100 points out of 100 for finance and accountability, GuideStar gives them the Bronze Seal of Transparency. 

“Freedom of the Press Foundation protects and defends adversarial journalism in the 21st century.”

Freedom of the Press Foundation

What they do: Freedom of the Press Foundation works to preserve and strengthen freedom of speech and freedom of the press. They also fight for the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, and papers, among other first and fourth amendment rights. They do this through the development of encryption tools such as SecureDrop which ensures secure communication between sources and media organizations. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Freedom of the Press Foundation’s open source platform (SecureDrop) for secure communication between sources and media organizations has been adopted by over 70 media organizations across the world. In addition, in 2017, they helped roll-out an Android app called Haven which acts as a private security system for journalists’ (and other people at risk) by using their own smartphone’s on-device sensors. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Freedom of the Press Foundation on their website. You can also keep up to date with the work of the charity and discover ways to protect journalists rights by signing up to receive email updates.

International Press Institute: Supporting Independent Journalism 

The International Press Institute was founded in 1950 by 15 editors from different newspapers to promote free press and improve the practices of journalism. Today, the charity defends media freedom and the free flow of news globally.

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their latest audit report, the International Press Institute spent about 65% directly on press freedom projects, 25% on salaries, and the rest on miscellaneous operating costs. 

“Our mission is to defend media freedom and the free flow of news wherever they are threatened”

International Press Institute

What they do: The International Press Institute advance conditions that are necessary for journalists to enjoy press freedom and work without fear through their various campaigns and their media freedom missions. In addition, they promote journalist safety and impunity, report on digital attacks on journalists, and also journalist killings with their death watch.

What they’ve achieved: The International Press Institute is the pioneer of surveys on press freedom and made reports on press freedom violations. For example, in 1953, they published the first global survey of press freedom. And since 1952, they have launched regular reports on global press freedom violations. They have also been monitoring and reporting on the killing of journalists since 1997. Their media laws database and campaigns for media laws protect journalism’s watchdog role and meet international standards. And, for example, in 2016 they helped allow opposition media in Zambia to to report on presidential elections after these faced what appeared to be politically motivated government pressure.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the International Press Institute through their website. And if you are active in a field related to their work, then you could also become a member of their network.

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: Protecting Journalists and the Public’s Right to Know 

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was founded in 1970 by Fred Graham, Jack Nelson, and Ben Bradlee, among others, to counter a wave of government subpoenas ordering journalists to reveal confidential sources. Today, the charity is one of the biggest nonprofits working to preserve press freedom in the US. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press 96 points out of 100 for accountability and transparency. GuideStar gives them the Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

“Our mission is to protect the right to gather and distribute the news; to keep government accountable by ensuring access to public records, meetings and courtrooms; and to preserve the principles of free speech and unfettered press, as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

What they do: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press provides pro bono legal representation and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the news gathering rights of journalists. The charity operates a legal hotline available to working journalists and media lawyers 7 days a week and creates special hotlines for reporters covering major events. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has won numerous legal victories for the press and media industries. For example, in 2017, they won a major case in Charlottesville when a court judge granted their request to make police release the public safety plan used for the violent “Unite the Right” rally. In 2018, the charity successfully filed a lawsuit against US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the US Department of Homeland Security to gain access to records of a summons authority issued to reveal the identity of an anonymous Twitter account user.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press through monetary gifts or gifts of stock. You can also contribute pro-bono legal work if you are an attorney. 

Committee to Protect Journalists: Offering Life-Saving Support to Journalists 

The Committee to Protect Journalists was established in 1981 by a group of US correspondents to defend the rights of journalists working in repressive regimes. Today, the charity defends the rights of journalists to report the news safely by raising awareness on press freedom violations and prompting authorities and other stakeholders to act. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Committee to Protect Journalists 100 points out of 100 for accountability and transparency. GuideStar gives them the Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

“The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.”

Committee to Protect Journalists

What they do: The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide. They report on press freedom violations in repressive countries, conflict zones, and established democracies alike. They also work with other organizations to ensure that justice prevails when journalists are imprisoned or killed. In addition, they carry out international press freedom awards every year to honor courageous journalists from around the world. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, the Committee to Protect Journalists has supported the rights of incarcerated and vulnerable journalists around the world. For example, in 2021 alone, they helped free 105 incarcerated journalists and helped secure convictions in the murders of 10 journalists. In the same year, the organization provided assistance to more than 400 journalists globally and also helped 60 journalists and their families flee Afghanistan. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to The Committee to Protect Journalists on their website. You can also subscribe to the charity’s newsletter to keep up to date with their work and achievements. 

Free Press: Defending Press Freedom in the Age of Technology 

Free Press was founded in 2003 by Robert McChesney, John Nichols and Josh Silver to defend press freedom. Today, they focus on the link between media and technology in their defense of press freedom and use advocacy as well as activism as the main methods for pursuing their goals.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Free Press 96 out of 100 for accountability and transparency. GuideStar gives them the Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

“Media and technology are essential to our democracy. We fight to ensure they’re used for justice.”

Free Press

What they do: Free Press fights to ensure that technology and the media are used to liberate and not oppress people. For example, they run Media 2070, a project that advocates for racial justice in the media. They are also pursuing a campaign dubbed Save the Internet that advocates for net neutrality.

What they’ve achieved: Free Press has had some successes in advocating for net neutrality and organized many national media conferences. For example, they organized six National Conferences for Media Reform (NCMRs) between 2003 and 2013. The NCMR is the biggest conference for media, technology, and democracy in the US. During the Obama administration, Free Press also successfully advocated for the implementation of net neutrality. These gains were, however, reversed under the Trump administration.  

Ways to contribute: You can make a monetary donation to Free Press on their website. You can also sign their ongoing petitions or join one of their upcoming events

National Press Club Journalism Institute: Creating Active Citizens 

National Press Club Journalism Institute was founded in 1908 by Graham Nichol and James Hay to give journalists a physical place to socialize. Today, they work to equip journalists with requisite skills for executing their duties and to ensure that citizens are well informed to effectively participate in democracy.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the National Press Club Journalism Institute 88 of 100 for finance and accountability. GuideStar gives them the Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

“The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes a transparent global society through an independent and free press”

National Press Club Journalism Institute

What they do: The National Press Club Journalism Institute aims to protect all journalists from interference so they can fully and fairly represent the communities they serve. For example, they conduct training for journalists on important aspects of their work such as safety when covering protests. They also sponsor around 250 events a year, designed to create opportunities for their members and the extended press corps to question key newsmakers on the record. In addition, they operate the Fallen Heroes Journalism Foundation, which honors and pays tribute to reporters who died during their job. 

What they’ve achieved: The National Press Club Journalism Institute trains thousands of journalists yearly so they can effectively investigate and share much-needed information to the public. For example, in 2021 alone, 3,147 journalists participated in these programs. They also award dozens of scholarships to student journalists every year. 

Ways to contribute: You can make a monetary donation to the National Press Club Journalism Institute on their website. You can also organize a Facebook fundraiser for the organization. 

BBC Media Action: Fighting Disinformation in the Age of Fake News 

BBC Media Action was founded in 1999 by the BBC to use the power of the media to support people in understanding their rights. Today, they support independent media and strive to provide accurate information to millions of people around the world. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: GuideStar gives BBC Media Action the Bronze Seal of Transparency. 

“To support media freedom, and ensure independent media can survive, we are working toward change at many levels.”

BBC Media Action

What they do: BBC Media Action works to strengthen the editorial and management capacity of media organizations and are implementing projects in multiple countries to strengthen their editorial standards. Their main projects are Support to Independent Media in the Eastern Partnership Countries and PRIMED, Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development.

What they’ve achieved: BBC Media Action has worked with media organizations and individuals across the globe to protect journalism from political interference. For example, they have strengthened the editorial capacity of public interest media in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone by helping journalists to build resilience to political pressure

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to BBC Media Action via their website. You can also engage in one of their various fundraising ideas.

Student Press Law Center: Nurturing Young Journalists 

The Student Press Law Center was founded in 1974 by the Robert F Kennedy Memorial and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to defend press freedom rights of high school and college journalists. Today, they provide free information, training, and legal assistance to student journalists and their educators.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Student Press Law Center 88 out of 100 for finance and accountability. GuideStar gives them the Bronze Seal of Transparency. 

“Promote, support and defend the First Amendment and press freedom rights of student journalists and their advisers at the high school and college level.”

Student Press Law Center

What they do: The Student Press Law Center works to promote, support and defend the First Amendment and press freedom rights of high school and college journalists and their advisers. For example, they assist a grassroots student movement called New Voices that utilizes state law to effectively protect students’ freedom of speech and press. They also run the Summer Media Law and Policy Institute, a five-week online training program about the legal framework surrounding media law and press freedom. 

What they’ve achieved: The Student Press Law Center has given many students legal assistance in cases against their school administrations. For example, their intervention spurred the University of Mary Washington to restore newspaper funding. They assisted Iowa student journalists to effectively sue their college and launch an independent newspaper. And they helped students attending Utah high school to obtain records for their investigation after a school tried to stop them from writing a story.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Student Press Law Center through their website. You can also get involved by volunteering as an attorney or signing up for their newsletter.

Fundamedios Inc: Defending Free Press in Latin America 

Fundamedios Inc was founded in 2007 by Cesar Ricaurte to promote freedom of expression and monitor the risks faced by journalists in Latin America. Today, the charity promotes freedom of expression and monitors aggression and risks faced by journalists.

Their impact and transparency ratings: GuideStar gives Fundamedios the Silver Seal of Transparency. 

“Fundamedios is an organization committed to promoting freedom of expression, monitor aggressions and risks faced by journalists, and uphold human rights since 2007 in Latin America.”

Fundamedios

What they do: Fundamedios researches and reports on freedom of expression and supports investigative journalism. For example, they run Investigator Ecuador, a traveling newsroom that offers small grants to strengthen investigative journalism in Ecuador. They also train journalists and members of the civil society in media skills and security techniques. 

What they’ve achieved: Fundamedios has won an award for their work in defending press freedom and equipping journalists with the necessary skills to do their work. To date, they have trained over 3,000 people in media skills. And in 2017, for example, they were one of the 15 worldwide winners Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Fundamedios through their website. You can also subscribe to the charity’s newsletter

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for press freedom. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to press freedom – based on the causes that matter most to you.

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

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Dennis Kamprad

Dennis is the founder of Impactful Ninja and passionate about enabling you to make a positive impact on the world & society. He started his professional career as a Sustainability Consultant and has worked on several social projects around the world. Outside of work, he is a passionate salsa dancer, fast runner, and multiple Ironman finisher.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

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