Free Press (organization)

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Free Press
Free Press (organization) logo.svg
Formation2003; 18 years ago (2003)[2]
Typenonprofit organization
41-2106721[1]
Legal status501(c)(3)[3]
PurposeTo reform the media; to conduct research on how the current media system influences the development of public policy and educates the public and policy-makers on how a more diverse and public service-oriented media system can stregnthen American Democracy; and to promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications.[1]
Location
FieldsPublic policy
Craig Aaron[4]
Co-CEO
Jessica J. González[4]
Kimberly Longey[4]
Chief of Staff
Misty Perez Truedson[4]
SubsidiariesFree Press Action Fund (501(c)(4))[1]
Revenue (2018)
$1,995,817[1]
Expenses (2018)$4,177,363[1]
Employees (2018)
38[1]
Volunteers (2018)
876[1]
Websitewww.freepress.net

Free Press is a United States advocacy group that is part of the media reform or media democracy movement. Their mission includes, "saving Net Neutrality, achieving affordable internet access for all, uplifting the voices of people of color in the media, challenging old and new media gatekeepers to serve the public interest, ending unwarranted surveillance, defending press freedom and reimagining local journalism.[5] The group is a major supporter of net neutrality.[6][2]

History, organization, and activities[edit]

Free Press is a 501(c)(3) organization.[7] Free Press Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization[8] and is the group's advocacy arm.[9]

Free Press was co-founded in 2003[2] by socialist writer Robert W. McChesney, progressive journalist John Nichols, and activist Josh Silver.[10]

It is part of the broader "media reform movement" (or "media democracy movement"), and has described its work in these terms. This movement promotes ideas of "media localism" and opposes media consolidation.[10] Like other organizations that are part of the same movement (such as the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and the Center for Digital Democracy), Free Press is concerned with issues such as Federal Communications Commission regulations, "as well as Congressional funding for public broadcasting and the malfeasance of corporate media."[10]

Free Press leads the Save the Internet coalition, which advocates for net neutrality.[11] The coalition consists of individuals, nonprofits, and companies, ranging from advocacy groups to consumer groups to Silicon Valley companies,[12][13] including Google and Microsoft.[13]

Free Press organized the annual National Conference for Media Reform from 2003 to 2013.[10] It currently hosts workshops, community forums, protests and other events around the country.

Free Press is headquartered in Washington, D.C.[7] It has a staff of 31 people in 2020.[7]

Net neutrality[edit]

Free Press is a strong supporter of net neutrality.[2][6] In 2008, Free Press was the key mover in a pro-net neutrality campaign that "drew together strange bedfellows, including the Christian Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Gun Owners of America, and helped set in motion a broader debate on the issue" that resulted in an FCC hearing on the subject.[2] In its campaign for net neutrality, Free Press has been allied with Democratic members of Congress.[2][14] The group supports the 2015 Open Internet Order, in which the FCC classified broadband internet as a common carrier service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934,[15][16] which meant that "no content could be blocked by broadband providers and that the internet would not be divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for internet and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else."[15]

Free Press has long been strongly critical of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai because of Pai's opposition to net neutrality regulations. In 2017, Free Press's president Craig Aaron has said that the reversal of the 2015 Open Internet Order "would put consumers at the mercy of phone and cable companies."[15] Pai, in turn, has been critical of Free Press, asserting that Free Press has a "socialist" agenda.[17]

New Jersey Civic Information Consortium[edit]

Free Press was a leading organization helping convince politicians in New Jersey to create the "New Jersey Civic Information Consortium", which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that funds initiatives to benefit the State’s civic life information needs in collaboration with one of the five members of the consortium: The College of New Jersey, Montclair State University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University and Rutgers University. Successful grant applications must propose a collaboration connecting at least one off-campus partner with at least one of the five higher-education partners to address the growing problems of news deserts and misinformation.[18]

Leadership[edit]

The board of directors includes Craig Aaron, Michael Copps, Ashley Allison, Alvaro Bedoya, Olga Davidson, Joan Donovan, Martha Fuentes-Bautista, Bryan Mercer, Victor Pickard and Ben Scott.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Free Press. Internal Revenue Service. 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Kang, Cecilia (28 March 2008). "Net Neutrality's Quiet Crusader: Free Press's Ben Scott Faces Down Titans, Regulators in Battle Over Internet Control". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Free Press". Tax Exempt Organization Search Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d "Staff". The Free Press. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  5. ^ www.freepress.net/about, Free Press (accessed 2021-04-05).
  6. ^ a b Boliek, Brooks (February 25, 2015). "Tom Wheeler tweaks net neutrality plan after Google push". Politico. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Free Press, Guidestar (accessed June 9, 2016).
  8. ^ Free Press Action Fund, Guidestar (accessed June 9, 2016).
  9. ^ Tim Wu Elected Board Chair at Free Press, Columbia Law School (April 2008).
  10. ^ a b c d Dan Berger, Defining Democracy: Coalition Politics and the Struggle for Media Reform, International Journal of Communication 3 (2009).
  11. ^ Adi Robertson, Who's fighting to save the internet now?: Net neutrality supporters gear up to take on the FCC, The Verge (May 5, 2014).
  12. ^ Lawrence Lessig & Robert W. McChesney, No Tolls on The Internet, Washington Post (June 8, 2006).
  13. ^ a b Anne Broache, New group aims to 'save the Internet', CNET (April 24, 2006).
  14. ^ Senators Champion Net Neutrality and Call on FCC to Act (press release), Free Press (July 15, 2014).
  15. ^ a b c Cecilia Kanga, F.C.C. Chairman Pushes Sweeping Changes to Net Neutrality Rules, New York Times (April 26, 2017).
  16. ^ Edward Wyatt, F.C.C. Considering Hybrid Regulatory Approach to Net Neutrality, New York Times (November 1, 2014).
  17. ^ REMARKS OF FCC CHAIRMAN AJIT PAI AT THE NEWSEUM, “THE FUTURE OF INTERNET FREEDOM” WASHINGTON, DC, APRIL 26, 2017, Federal Communications Commission (April 26, 2017).
  18. ^ Mike Rispoli (30 September 2020). "Why the Civic Info Consortium Is Such a Huge Deal". Free Press. Wikidata Q104819595.
  19. ^ "Board of Directors". Free Press. Retrieved 2020-01-28.

External links[edit]