Freedom of the Press Foundation

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Not to be confused with Foundation for Press Freedom.
For other uses of "Freedom of the Press", see Freedom of the press (disambiguation).
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Abbreviation FPF
Formation December 17, 2012; 5 years ago (2012-12-17)
Type non-governmental organization
Purpose freedom of the press and freedom of speech funding
Region served
Key people
John Perry Barlow
John Cusack
Daniel Ellsberg
Glenn Greenwald
Xeni Jardin
Laura Poitras
Edward Snowden
Trevor Timm
Rainey Reitman
Affiliations Electronic Frontier Foundation[1]
Website Tor: freepress3xxs3hk.onion[2]

Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 to fund and support free speech and freedom of the press.

The organization’s board of directors is made up of well-known journalists and whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg, Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and Xeni Jardin, as well as activists, celebrities, and filmmakers. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden joined FPF’s board of directors in 2014.[3]

FPF is most famous for breaking the WikiLeaks financial blockade and developing SecureDrop, the open-source whistleblower submission system originally created by Aaron Swartz.


FPF’s mission includes "promoting and funding aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government", and runs crowd-funding campaign several times a year for WikiLeaks and other independent journalistic organizations.

The organization’s founding was inspired by the WikiLeaks financial blockade.[4] When FPF launched in late 2012, it was the first time people could donate to WikiLeaks via Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal since the payment processors cut off WikiLeaks in late 2010.

FPF has also crowd-funded support for a variety of other transparency journalism organizations, as well as encryption tools used by journalists, including: WikiLeaks, MuckRock, the National Security Archive, The UpTake, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Center for Public Integrity, Truthout, LEAP, Open Whisper Systems, Tails, The Tor Project.

In May 2013, FPF raised over $100,000 online donations to hire a professional court stenographer to take transcripts during the trial of whistleblower Chelsea Manning after the government refused to make its transcripts available to the public.[5] They posted the transcripts online at the end of each day of the trial for members of the media to use in their reports. Secrecy expert Steven Aftergood later called the crowd-funding effort "unprecedented," saying "it eloquently demonstrated public expectations of openness...the court and the prosecutors may have been shamed into reconsidering their habitual secrecy." [6]

In October 2013, FPF raised over $23,000 for New Zealand independent journalist Nicky Hager to fund his legal challenge against the government of New Zealand after his house was raided by police following a book he wrote.[7] A court later ruled the raid of Hager’s house was illegal.[8]

In the summer of 2015, FPF raised over $200,000 online for Chelsea Manning’s legal defense stemming from her conviction under the Espionage Act for leaking information to WikiLeaks.[9] Her case is ongoing.

SecureDrop and Digital Security Tools

In October 2013, FPF took over the development of SecureDrop, an open source whistleblower submission system developed in part by the late programmer and transparency activist Aaron Swartz.[10] The SecureDrop system facilitates anonymous communication between two parties using the Tor Network, and allows whistleblowers to contact journalists without ever exchanging one another's identities or contact information.

The system is now is in use at over two dozen major news organizations, including the Washington Post, the Guardian, the New Yorker, Pro Publica, Gawker, and the Intercept.[11] According to a study done by Columbia Journalism School, it has since successfully led to the publication of many stories at the news organizations that use it.[12]

FPF also teaches journalists how to use other encryption and digital security tools to better protect their sources.

Legal cases

Freedom of the Press Foundation has been involved in several Freedom of Information Act cases surrounding journalists’ rights and government transparency.

In January 2016, FPF’s lawsuit against the Justice Department revealed that the US government has secret rules for targeting journalists with National Security Letters and FISA court orders.[13]

In March 2016, another FPF’ lawsuit showed that the Obama administration secretly lobbied against bipartisan Freedom of Information Act reform in Congress, despite the bill being based word-for-word on the Obama administration’s supposed transparency guidelines.[14]


FPF co-founders Daniel Ellsberg, John Perry Barlow, Trevor Timm, and Rainey Reitman won the 2013 Hugh Hefner First Amendment award for their role in founding FPF.[15] The organization was the recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists’ James Madison award in 2016.[16]

See also


  1. Cohn, Cindy (2012-12-17). "EFF Helps Freedom of the Press Foundation". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  2. "The Official SecureDrop Directory". Freedom of the Press Foundation. Retrieved December 13, 2014. 
  3. "Board of Directors". Freedom of the Press Foundation. Retrieved 2016-05-16. 
  4. Greenwald, Glenn (2012-12-17). "New press freedom group is launched to block US government attacks". Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2016-05-16. 
  5. Armitage, Susan (2013-06-13). "Notetakers denied Manning trial access". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2016-05-16. 
  6. Klasfield, Adam (2013-07-17). "Military Signals Partial Wiki-Secrecy Retreat". Courthouse News Service. 
  7. "Help Fund Independent Reporter Nicky Hager's Legal Defense". Freedom of the Press Foundation. 
  8. Geiringer, Felix (2015-12-17). "High Court finds police raid on Nicky Hager was illegal". Scoop Independent News. 
  9. Hart, P. Andrew (2015-07-17). "Chelsea Manning Defense Fund Flooded With Donations". Huffington Post. 
  10. Timm, Trevor (2013-10-15). "Freedom of the Press Foundation Launches SecureDrop, an Open-Source Submission Platform for Whistleblowers". Boing Boing. 
  11. "The Official SecureDrop Directory". SecureDrop. 
  12. Berret, Charles. "Guide to SecureDrop". 
  13. Timm, Trevor (2016-01-11). "FWhen can the FBI use National Security Letters to spy on journalists? That’s classified.". Columbia Journalism Review. 
  14. Leopold, Jason (2016-03-09). "It Took a FOIA Lawsuit to Uncover How the Obama Administration Killed FOIA Reform". VICE News. 
  15. "Winners Announced for 2013 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards". Business Wire. 2013-05-15. 

External links