The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press on Tuesday night announced a $1 million donation from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the biggest gift from an individual in the organization’s 46-year history.
“This generous gift will help us continue to grow, to offer our legal and educational support to many more news organizations, and to expand our services to independent journalists, nonprofit newsrooms and documentary filmmakers,” Reporters Committee Chairman David Boardman said. “We’ll also be better positioned to help local newsrooms, the places hit hardest by the disruption in the news industry and whose survival is every bit as crucial to American democracy as those entities headquartered in Washington and New York.”
Bezos, who is worth $82.7 billion, purchased The Washington Post in 2013 and has been a demur but firm voice for press freedom in the years since. In an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg last June, Bezos said he opposed then-candidate Donald Trump’s attempts to “freeze or chill” the media on the campaign trail.
In a speech commemorating the opening of The Post’s downtown headquarters last year, he called the staff “a little more swashbuckling” than the competition and described his newsroom as “an important institution.”
The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press raised $2 million at its annual Freedom of the Press dinner Tuesday night and also announced it would work with First Look Media to administer the company’s expanded Media Press Freedom Defense Fund up to $6 million.
“We’re honored to partner with First Look Media as it expands its Press Freedom Defense Fund,” said Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown. “Tonight’s announcements send a strong signal that we are ready to face whatever challenges we may face and we are committed to standing alongside journalists in support of the First Amendment.”