Since its founding in 1946, RTDNA has supported and defended the First Amendment. In today's climate of distrust and amid growing attacks on journalism, RTDNA is renewing its commitment to speak out for freedom of the press by establishing the Voice of the First Amendment Task Force.

The goals of the task force include not only reacting to threats to First Amendment Freedoms, but proactively supporting journalists and educating the public about the importance of a free press to our democracy. The task force is a collaborative effort with broadcast and digital journalism companies, like-minded media associations and others to provide a vigorous defense for the First Amendment, news media access and to combat the growing vitriol toward journalism in the current divisive political and ideological environment.

RTDNA and its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force has joined more than 20 press freedom organizations in launching the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a new website dedicated to documenting press freedom abuses across the United States. The site serves as a repository for data at a time when journalists in the U.S. are facing obstruction, threats, hostility, legal charges, assault, and other forms of harassment.

Republican official 'would have shot' Guardian reporter attacked by Gianforte

Indiana lawmaker drafts bill to license journalists

Soap opera actor slaps reporter in the face on red carpet

Trump doubles down on broadcast license threats

New York Press Club issues statement on Mayor's closed-door meeting

NYPD insincere about transparency

The most difficult place in America to practice journalism

Four more journalists arrested in St. Louis

Can the First Amendment save us?

When a journalist is arrested covering a protest, what should the news outlet do?

UT Austin journalist assaulted while covering protest

Appeals court nixes TV coverage of key arguments on LGBT rights

Student journalists among those attacked by police in St. Louis

GOP governors launch ‘news’ site critics call propaganda

Journalists detained in St. Louis protests

Michigan journalist assaulted while recording protestors

Protesters threaten St. Louis TV reporter, toss water at him

Sessions seeks leak investgation rule change

Missouri blogger assaulted at his home

Louisville TV station fights warrant for reporter's notes, video in officer shooting

Charge dismissed against arrested West Virginia journalist

KTVU anchor: 'I experienced hate firsthand' at Berkeley rally

'We were targets because we had cameras' at Antifa rally

Judge orders tech co. to release user data from anti-Trump website

Trump portrays journalists as anti-American enemy

Media lets loose its fury after Trump attacks

Court ruling could affect future media lawsuits

White supremacist threatens Afro-Latina anchor
(Caution: Contains Offensive Language)

White House still holding back visitor information

Trial set for Iowa reporter who recorded 'Bachelor' hearing

CNN won't air Trump 'president's enemies' campaign ad without changes

First Amendment assault could have ramifications for press freedom

Journalist targeted by Fox News anchor threatens sanctions if $50M suit isn't dropped

The lawyers who shut down Gawker go after another online news organization

ACLU sues governors, president, for blocking social media followers

Kushner, Secret Service try to force reporter to delete recording

NRA tells New York Times, 'We're Coming For You'

Bullet goes through Vermont reporter's window

Some leaks considered good, others bad

R. Kelly 'cult' story almost never ran

'Fake news' tactics disrupt newsgathering

WH asks Correspondents Association to criticize reporter

Maine Governor suggests making up stories to mislead media

Springfield, MO city council's method to fill open seat may have violated open meeting law

President appears to promote violence against CNN with tweet

San Antonio prosecutor excludes paper from news conference

Indiana judge blocks broadcast of hearing, station appeals

Two journalists arrested at Twin Cities protest

CNN chief blames Trump for threats against reporters

Reporter handcuffed for taking pictures

Senate Republicans crack down on press access

Gianforte pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault

Gianforte apologizes to Jacobs for attack

Windows shattered by bullets at Kentucky newspaper

Texas governor jokes about shooting reporters

Senate candidate who punched reporter in 1981 says he'd do it again

Congressional candidate allegedly 'body slams' reporter

Iowa judge sets tight rules in celebrity case

Tampa mayor jokes about firing weapon at media

Indiana judge bars broadcast of courtroom recording

FCC guards eject reporter for asking questions

West Virginia police arrest reporter for asking questions

Las Vegas news photographer arrested during protest


Subscribe to Voice of the First Amendment updates. Media companies, journalists, educators, students and members of the general public interested in supporting, or participating in the task force’s efforts, can contact us at or call Executive Director Dan Shelley at 212-246-0398.



New problems, some rays of hope, in First Amendment fight

It has been a head-spinning week for press freedom. Read our statement here.

RTDNA condemns presidential threat to go after networks’ ‘license’

President's threat is a misunderstanding of the federal government's role. Read our statement here.

The most dangerous place to be a reporter in America: St. Louis

RTDNA calls on police to ensure journalists are not arrested for doing their jobs. Read our statement here.

RTDNA urges senators to ignore call to investigate journalists

Such an investigation would be a clear violation of the First Amendment. Read our statement here.

Maria recovery prompts new round of presidential ‘fake news’ claims

It is never too late to speak out against officials shooting the messengers. Read our statement here.

Twelve and counting…

A dozen journalists face criminal charges for doing their jobs. Read our statement here.

Watch: Know your reporting rights

Learn when not to back down in our live Free Speech Week discussion. Read our statement here.

The First Amendment assault you may not have heard about

State legislatures attempt to put restrictions on people's right to express their beliefs. Read our statement here.

RTDNA demands charges against St. Louis reporter be dropped

Reporter arrested, allegedly assaulted while covering protest. Read our statement here.

File an FOI request? You could get sued!

A growing number of universities are suing their own student newspapers over FOI requests. Read our statement here.

RTDNA applauds decision to drop charges against West Virginia journalist

It is not a crime for a journalist to to ask questions of a public official. Read our statement here.

Sigh: The post-Harvey attacks on the media

Task Force expresses frustration with a growing number of attacks on the news media. Read our statement here.

RTDNA condemns threats, assaults in Berkeley, California

Those who use threats and violence to stifle Constitutional rights are to be condemned. Read our statement here.

RTDNA urges journalists to watch their backs after latest POTUS attacks

The president has tried to make journalists the villains to fire up his political base. Read our statement here.

How Charlottesville is already changing journalism

Introspection about reporting and race are the direct result of responsible journalism. Read our statement here.

President, supporters ratchet up anti-journalism rhetoric

Blasting out images that appear to advocate violence targeting reporters is deplorable. Read our statement here.

RTDNA offers support to journalists in Charlottesville

RTDNA's Voice of the First Amendment Task Force offers support to journalists in Virginia. Read our statement here.

U.S. Press Freedom Tracker: Tell us your problems

Journalists: Let us know about problems you have encountered while trying to do your job. Read our statement here.

DOJ to review news media subpoena policy

RTDNA is concerned Sessions’ review could lead to a dramatic roll-back of protections. Read our statement here.

RTDNA protests photography restrictions in LA public park

Journalism organizations say blanket ban on photos and video is unconstitutional. Read our statement here.

RTDNA cautions public about new ‘Real News’ series

Facebook video series appears to be effort to discredit the work of responsible journalists. Read our statement here.

New website tracks press freedom violations in U.S.

RTDNA and more than 20 other groups launch nonpartisan U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. Read our statement here.

Helping the public understand why ‘responsible journalism’ matters

Some Americans would allow courts to punish news organizations for inaccurate reporting. Read our statement here.

RTDNA urges Capitol Police to respect First Amendment

Journalism groups object to police ordering journalists to delete photos and video. Read our statement here.

RTDNA urges Commerce Committee to hold hearing on media

Groups say a Senate Commerce Committee hearing could help in rebuilding trust. Read our statement here.

U.S. Capitol Police order journalists to delete photos, videos

Law enforcement agencies should be aware of the First Amendment’s protections. Read our statement here.

It’s time for a fresh start for White House media relations

RTDNA gratified by Sanders' pledge to be “open, honest, and transparent” with journalists. Read our statement here.

President’s fundraisers sell anti-journalism bumper stickers

The Voice of the First Amendment Task Force expresses concern about a fundraising effort. Read our statement here.

RTDNA supports Indiana TV station’s fight to broadcast testimony

Case centers on recording of sentencing hearing obtained in open records request. Read our statement here.

Another US appeals court upholds the First Amendment

Federal appeals court rules there is a First Amendment right to record the police. Read our statement here.

Since launching the effort, RTDNA has reached out to a large number of leaders in the industry and other important constituencies to assess the level of the problem and to begin to form strategies that will ensure that the public’s right, and need, to know what is going on in their communities, their states and their nation is protected and thrives.
Spearheading the effort is RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley, who described the task force’s early findings in Washington, D.C., at a forum organized by the National Press Club's Journalism Institute as part of its press freedom initiative.
Shelley told the panel that RTDNA members across the country are seeing an enhanced level of public vitriol in reaction to the pervasive “fake news” and “enemy of the people” rhetoric that has become even more widespread since the 2016 presidential election.
Watch his full comments:

In response to the feedback the task force has received so far, RTDNA is putting together a plan to, among other things, help the public understand that journalists work hard every day to provide, according to Shelley, “outstanding examples of what I call responsible electronic and digital journalism.”

The RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force continues to seek input and develop its comprehensive approach to public education about the importance of journalism, and to combat in other ways the contempt that many elected officials and members of the public have for it.