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.
 





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

 

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 pressfreedom@rtdna.org or call RTDNA Executive Director Mike Cavender at 770-823-1760 or Incoming Executive Director Dan Shelley at 212-246-0398.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


HOW CHARLOTTESVILLE IS ALREADY CHANGING JOURNALISM


The events of August 11 and 12 are already prompting changes in the way journalists cover race and civil unrest in the United States, and has led to a new level of navel gazing about whether journalists should even seek both sides of a story when one of the sides is widely accepted as disreputable or despicable. Read our take here.

PRESIDENT, SUPPORTS RATCHET UP ANTI-JOURNALISM RHETORIC

The RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force is expressing concern about new, more vigorous efforts by President Trump and his campaign organization to fuel anti-news media sentiment among Americans who don’t like, or don’t understand the role of, responsible journalism. Read our statement here.

RTDNA OFFERS SUPPORT TO JOURNALISTS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE

The RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force is offering support to journalists in Charlottesville, Va., who may have been arrested while covering Saturday’s protests involving alt-right nationalist organizations and groups opposing them. Read our statement here.

U.S. PRESS FREEDOM TRACKER: TELL US YOUR PROBLEMS

The task force is asking RTDNA members – and all broadcast and digital journalists across the country – to let it know about problems they have encountered while trying to do their jobs. Read more about the Press Freedom Tracker here.

DOJ TO REVIEW NEWS MEDIA SUBPOENA POLICY

In a move that could seriously impinge on reporters’ ability to serve as watchdogs for the public, Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Department of Justice will review Obama administration rules that restrict the government’s ability to subpoena journalists who receive and publish leaked classified material. Read our statement here.

RTDNA PROTESTS PHOTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS IN LA PUBLIC PARK

Along with the ACLU of Southern California, RTDNA and other journalism groups are protesting a blanket ban on photography and videography during a concert series in a public park in downtown Los Angeles. Read more about it here.

RTDNA CAUTIONS PUBLIC ABOUT NEW 'REAL NEWS' SERIES

A new Facebook video series, “Real News,” appears to be an effort by President Trump and his supporters to promote their accomplishments while discrediting the work of responsible journalists. Read our statement about the series.

NEW WEBSITE TRACKS PRESS FREEDOM VIOLATIONS IN THE U.S.

RTDNA and its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force joined more than 20 press freedom organizations in announcing the launch of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a new nonpartisan website dedicated to documenting press freedom abuses across the United States. Read more about it here.

HELPING THE PUBLIC UNDERSTAND WHY 'RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM' MATTERS

A recent poll showed that a significant number of Americans say they’re willing to allow the courts to punish news organizations for inaccurate or biased reporting. Read RTDNA's take, and see some of the great journalism winning awards.

RTDNA URGES CAPITOL POLICE TO RESPECT FIRST AMENDMENT

RTDNA has joined several journalism groups in urging the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms and the U.S. Capitol Police to respect the rights of people (citizens and journalists) to record police activity with photos and videos. See the letter we co-signed.

U.S. CAPITOL POLICE ORDER JOURNALISTS TO DELETE PHOTOS, VIDEOS

RTDNA has expressed concern regarding actions taken by the U.S. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and U.S. Capitol Police officers to prevent journalists from taking photos or videos of officers arresting protesters outside the Senate chamber. Read our statement here.

RTDNA SUPPORTS INDIANA TV STATION'S FIGHT TO BROADCAST TESTIMONY

The RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force supports the efforts of an Indiana TV station to broadcast court-generated audio in a case involving a controversial sentence in the sexual battery conviction of a local physician. Read about our position here.

ANOTHER US APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS THE FIRST AMENDMENT

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia has reaffirmed the public's First Amendment right to take photographs and otherwise record police officers while performing their duties in public. Read our statement applauding the ruling.

JOURNALISTS URGED NOT TO BE INTIMIDATED BY NEW PRESIDENTIAL TWEET

Some believe a tweet by the President, showing a video clip of a pro wrestling telecast, endorses violence against the news media. Read RTDNA's statement about the tweet.

CELEBRATE THE FIRST AMENDMENT ON INDEPENDENCE DAY

Take a moment during the holiday weekend to reflect on the importance of the First Amendment and its values. Read more about it here.

RTDNA COMMENDS NBC'S CHUCK TODD FOR FIGHTING BACK

Todd delivered a full-throated commentary on the battle being waged daily by the current White House against responsible journalism. Read his comments and our response here.

WHITE HOUSE CROSSED LINE PROMOTING QUESTIONABLE VIDEO

White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders crossed an ethical line when she urged Americans to view a video published by the controversial group Project Veritas. RTDNA reacted here.

RTDNA SUPPORTS FLORIDA STATION SUED FOR 'HURT FEELINGS'


A Florida prosecutor is suing a local television station in Fort Myers over a report that quoted Department of Justice documents critical of his office. RTDNA has offered its support to the station. Read more about it here.

RTDNA OBJECTS TO WH 'SCREW WITH THE MEDIA' STRATEGY

RTDNA spoke out strongly against a current White House strategy to “screw with the media,” according to a CNN report. Read our response here.

RTDNA BLASTS WHITE HOUSE BAN ON VIDEO/AUDIO AT DAILY  PRESS BRIEFING

RTDNA joined journalists at the White House in criticizing Trump administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer for barring cameras and audio from press briefings. Read our statement here.

RTDNA OBJECTS TO ARREST OF REPORTERS COVERING MINNESOTA PROTEST

RTDNA objects to the arrests of two journalists who were covering a protest in St. Paul, Minn., in the wake of a the veridict in a police shooting case. Read our comments here.

RTDNA JOINS PROTEST OF NEW YORK JOURNALIST'S DETENTION

A journalist in Syracuse, New York was handcuffed and detained for taking pictures in a courthouse hallway where the press routinely take photos. RTDNA joined the New York State Associated Press Association in objecting to the actions of authorities. Read our statement here.

RTDNA URGES SENATE NOT TO CHANGE PRESS ACCESS

RTDNA objects to what could be an upcoming move by the U.S. Senate Rules Committee that would make it more difficult for broadcast and other reporters to question senators about public policy in the U.S. Capitol. Read our statement.

RTDNA CALLS ON POLICE TO PROTECT CALIFORNIA JOURNALIST

RTNDA is calling on police in Willows, Calif., to protect a local newspaper editor and reporter who has received death threats during the past two months. Read more about it here.

RTDNA CONCERNED FOLLOWING GIANFORTE SENTENCING

RTNDA’s Voice of the First Amendment Task Force today expressed concern about the safety of journalists in the U.S., following the guilty plea and light sentence for Representative-Elect Greg Gianforte (R-MT) in a misdemeanor assault case, which charged him with physically attacking a reporter. Read our statement.

RTDNA CONDEMNS APPARENT ASSAULT ON JOURNALIST

A reporter was allegedly 'body slammed' by a Montana congressional candidate while attempting to ask a question. RTDNA condemned the assault and again called on political figures to end physical and rhetorical attacks on the press. Read RTDNA's statement here.

UTAH REJECTS TIGHTER RESTRICTIONS ON COURT RECORDS

Utah's Judicial Council was considering putting tight restrictions on the release of court records in dismissed criminal cases. RTDNA and other journalism groups objected and the Council voted against the proposal. Read more about it here.

FCC GUARDS RESTRAIN, REMOVE REPORTER FOR ASKING QUESTIONS

A credentialed reporter approached an FCC commissioner to ask a question, was pushed against a wall by security guards and ejected from the building. RTDNA joins the National Press Club urging officials to condemn both physical and rhetorical assaults on journalists. Read RTDNA's statement here.

 
PRESIDENT TALKED OF JAILING JOURNALISTS

In conversations with now-ousted FBI chief James Comey, President Trump reportedly spoke of jailing journalists for publishing classified information. Read more about the story and RTNDA's response.

RTDNA OPPOSES PRESIDENT'S THREAT TO END PRESS BRIEFINGS

RTDNA joined the White House Correspondents’ Association in opposing President Trump’s tweeted implication that he is considering ending White House press briefings. Read about RTDNA's position here.

“Responsible journalism that reveals facts to inform the public is not ‘fake news,’ Mr. President,” said RTDNA Incoming Executive Director Dan Shelley.

REPORTER ARRESTED AT WEST VIRGINIA STATE CAPITOL
West Virginia state capitol police arrested Charleston-based Public News Service reporter Dan Heyman on Tuesday, May 9, after pulling him away as he tried to ask a question of visiting Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Heyman has been charged with "willful disruption of governmental processes." Read more about Heyman's story here.

RTDNA, through its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force, has offered and is providing assistance to Heyman and Public News Service. RTDNA has condemned Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's remarks about Heyman's arrest.
 
 


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 Incoming Executive Director Dan Shelley, who described the task force’s early findings recently 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.