FAC has received a $100,000 gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to support the organization’s work to defend free speech, the free press, and public participation in civic affairs. This generous and substantial commitment will enable FAC to continue to grow its programs and reach new audiences—work that is more important than ever in light of unprecedented threats to the First Amendment and the public’s right to know.
The gift from Craig Newmark, the founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, will support all of FAC’s programs, including its free Legal Hotline, its strategic litigation program, and its Subpoena Defense Initiative, which connects journalists with qualified pro bono counsel to defend them against subpoenas seeking confidential sources and notes.
“FAC is truly grateful to Craig Newmark Philanthropies for this generous gift, which will allow us to continue and expand our fight for speech and press freedoms, public access to government records and meetings, and civic engagement,” said FAC Executive Director David Snyder.
A democracy can only thrive when the entire public participates, and is included, in a society, and that means we need people to be informed about what’s going on around them so that they can be thoughtful voters, citizens, and neighbors,” said Newmark. “I’m proud to support the First Amendment Coalition as they protect American democracy.”
FAC’s work has grown recently, with the addition of a Legal Fellow program and the launch and expansion of its subpoena defense work, which includes free seminars for lawyers and journalists on how to respond to civil and criminal subpoenas to journalists. Most recently, FAC arranged for counsel to represent freelance journalist Bryan Carmody, who was subject to illegal search warrants, executed by San Francisco police officers, sparking national outrage from press advocates and others. FAC has also filed a motion to unseal the search warrants used in Carmody’s case, to allow the public to see where and how SFPD failed to recognize the critical protections of California’s journalist shield law. FAC also recently led the court fight in enforcing SB 1421, the state’s new landmark police transparency law, and, on the federal front, is suing the United States Department of Justice for access to records of its collection of journalist phone and email records.Your contributions make our work possible.