Journalism groups and media organizations are launching a new campaign called “Protect Press Freedom,” including a one-minute spot that will air on networks and broadcast stations. Watch it above.
“Today, there are real threats to press freedom, and your right to know the world around us,” a narrator says in the spot. “Some threats are obvious, some are easy to miss, but they all put our way of life at risk.”
The campaign is spearheaded by the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists, along with Free Press, Internews, Media Law Resource Center, PEN America, Reporters Without Borders and the Society of Professional Journalists. They are partnering with 30 media and technology firms and other nonprofits.
What the spot does not do is call out specific figures who have targeted the media, like President Donald Trump, who attacks “fake news” and has referred to news outlets as “the enemy of the American people.” Instead, the spot features scenes in which news sources of information disappear.
“When one journalist or news source is threatened — whether it’s verbally, physically or legally — it threatens fundamental American freedom that’s essential to understanding and participating in our communities,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee.
A spokeswoman for the campaign said that CNN, CBS and NBC will be airing the spot, and TV stations also are donating pro-bono to air it as they would a public service announcement. There also is a print and digital version of the campaign, with full-page ads in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and Washington Post.
Other media partners include Sinclair Broadcast Group, Gannett/USA Today, NPR, The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones, Barron’s, McClatchy, Scripps and Reuters. Facebook and Twitter also are participating, along with organizations such as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Press Club and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, noted that “journalists around the world are being imprisoned in record numbers, and violence is on the rise.” According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, there have been 31 physical attacks on journalists in 2019, compared to 43 in all of 2018. But according to research from the Reporters Committee and the Democracy Fund, 52% of Americans do not believe that the press is under threat.