Program areas at Free Press
Future of the internet: highlighted the importance of closing the digital divide and bringing affordable broadband service to millions of people lacking such service. Promoted awareness of the affordable connectivity program to help lower income people afford phone and internet access during the pandemic. Urged passage of a congressional resolution that declares that access to broadband, water, power, heating and cooling are human rights. Published research that exposed billions of dollars of waste in the rural digital opportunity fund. Worked on the creation of a broadband-nutrition label to inform people about the cost and basic terms of their internet-service plans, and urged the fcc to make the label clear and visible to customers on their monthly bills. Provided public testimony, analysis and filings related to public interest oriented broadband proposals in numerous state and federal regulatory agency proceedings. Urged that the united states join dozens of other countries in signing the declaration of the future of the internet, which promotes a shared vision of a more open, affordable, secure and democratic internet. Among the declaration's principles are calls for net neutrality, affordable and inclusive internet access, and data-privacy protections.
Future of journalism: through the media2070 project, documented how centuries of harm the u.s. media system has inflicted on the black community. Examined how historic and contemporary racial discrimination in all media and government policies have excluded black people and other communities of color from controlling the nation's communications infrastructure. Worked with a growing consortium of media-makers, scholars and activists to build support for the fight for reparations. Supported creation of "black in the news room", an award-winning documentary film featured in several festivals and public and private screenings across the u.s. Through the news voices project promoted awareness of how the local-news crisis has left communities across the country with little-to-no reporting on local government, schools, public health and other crucial matters. Urged prominent newspapers to transform coverage of the criminal-legal system and to craft more equitable reporting on public safety, policing and trauma and to better support its journalists of color. Published two resource guides. Highlighted importance of rebuilding local journalism and creating new forms of public funding to sustain it. Worked in coalition, community groups and academic institutions to highlight negative impacts of news deserts and how transformative journalism policies will better serve marginalized communities, media workers and society.
Democracy and digital civil rights: worked to combat hate, disinformation and conspiracy theories online while preserving freedom of speech and protecting marginalized communities when they speak out. Called on tech companies to institute election-integrity measures; enforce their rules equally regardless of a speaker's social or political status; enforce rules equally across all languages; and be far more transparent about their content-moderation policies. Urged social-media platforms to invest significant resources in combating online hate and disinformation in languages other than english. Published numerous reports, blog posts, social media posts and Press releases showcasing how social media company services are used to stoke hate and real-world violence targeting black and brown people, women, lgbtqia+ people, religious minorities and immigrants. Urged companies to study algorithmic bias, commit to independent audits and to enforce existing terms of service. Worked with dozens of groups to highlight the need to safeguard privacy, promote civil rights and set guardrails against the abuse of data online. Published a major report revealing the ongoing failures of meta, tiktok, twitter and youtube to curb the spread of election disinformation and extremism across their networks.
Free Press works to preserve rights to Free expression, communication and privacy online and in person. Areas of focus include future of the internet; democracy and digital civil rights; and future of journalism. In 2022 Free Press conducted research, education, and also organized and mobilized to advocate for better media, open technology and a healthier democracy. Provided regular information via email, website, and webinars to 1.4 million constituents hailing from all 50 states, the district of columbia and puerto rico. Attracted 333,000 overall website visits and virtual events attracted hundreds of participants. Interacted with 132,000 social media followers and earned 3,500 Press hits. Created and disseminated resource materials including research reports, issue briefs, factsheets, and brochures. Provided training and support to dozens of local and regional media reform groups and to thousands of local media activists. Filed public comments, and participated in several federal communications commission proceedings and several federal court proceedings. Worked with dozens of organizations to plan and implement high profile educational events. Secured financial support from 1,482 donors.