May 3, 2020

This article was originally published on May 2, 2019. It has been updated to reflect the details of World Press Freedom Day in 2020. 

Today is the 27th annual World Press Freedom Day. It is an opportunity to celebrate the democratic necessity of a free press — and evaluate how it’s working around the globe.

The theme this year, according to organizers UNESCO, is “journalism without fear or favour.”

The Poynter Institute is a global leader in journalism education and fact-checking. Primarily, we teach working professionals how to confront the shifting challenges associated with finding and telling the truth.

For journalists here in the United States, that means mastering digital innovations, making ethical decisions on deadline, and learning creative ways to investigate, analyze, interview, write and edit. As press freedom continues to erode in this country, Poynter faculty are on call to help local journalists withstand death threats and doxxing, call out powerful people and organizations, and put out a “damn paper.”

For some of our friends abroad, the challenges look different. As instructors, our job is to encourage, empower and support. Our students are journalists from dozens of countries with dangerously low press freedom rankings like Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Mexico. We provide them resources to deal with trauma. We show them tips and tricks to disseminate information despite censorship, internet blackouts and dictatorial crackdowns.

Still, they are jailed. Some are killed.

We work hard to protect journalists around the world and give them the education and tools to keep going. You can support Poynter in our mission here.

By donating to Poynter, you will also be advancing our fact-checking enterprises: MediaWise, PolitiFact and International Fact-Checking Network. These initiatives are on the front lines of the battle against misinformation, particularly on social media.

Here is a list of 30 other organizations directly advocating for press freedom and fighting for the safety of journalists. Today is the day to show your support:


Around the world


Article 19 — “Article 19 is a British human rights organization with a specific mandate and focus on the defense and promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of information worldwide. The organization takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

BBC Media Action Plan — “BBC Media Action is the BBC’s international development charity. We believe in the power of media and communication to help reduce poverty and support people in understanding their rights.”

Center for International Media Development — “The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) is dedicated to improving U.S. efforts to promote independent media in developing countries around the world. CIMA organizes itself under four intertwined areas that are crucial to outcomes in media development: effectiveness, sustainability, innovation and funding.”

Committee to Protect Journalists — “The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal. CPJ protects the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are under threat.”

DW Akademie — “We help press councils, professional associations and media organizations clearly represent, and safeguard, their interests when talking to political decision-makers. DW Akademie works in 50 countries around the world.”

Freedom House — “Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world. We analyze the challenges to freedom, advocate for greater political rights and civil liberties, and support frontline activists to defend human rights and promote democratic change.”

Global Press Institute — “Global Press exists to create a more just and informed world by training and then employing local journalists to produce ethical, accurate news coverage from the world’s least-covered places.”

IFEX — “The IFEX network of organizations is connected by a shared commitment to defend and promote freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. IFEX advocates for the free expression rights of all, including media workers, citizen journalists, activists, artists, scholars.”

IMS — International Media Support “is the biggest media development organisation in the Nordic region. We work in more than 30 countries across four continents promoting press freedom, good journalism and safety for journalists.”

Institute for War and Peace Reporting — “IWPR supports local reporters, citizen journalists and civil society activists in three dozen countries in conflict, crisis and transition around the world. We contribute to peace and good governance by strengthening the ability of media and civil society to speak out.”

International Center for Journalists — “Working at the nexus of journalism and technology, ICFJ builds the expertise and storytelling skills of reporters worldwide. We foster news innovation, build strong networks of investigative reporters, and run exchange programs to deepen understanding.”

International News Safety Institute — “INSI is a member-based organization dedicated to journalists’ safety. We offer the world’s leading news organizations a vital forum for networking and information sharing via our membership portal, alerts and advisories, workshops, regional meetings and webinar discussions.”

International Women’s Media Foundation — “We are the only organization that provides safety training, byline opportunities, and emergency support tailored to female journalists and photographers around the world.”

Internews — “Internews, an international nonprofit organization, empowers people worldwide with the trustworthy, high-quality news and information they need to make informed decisions, participate in their communities, and hold power to account.”

IREX — “We promote vibrant information and media systems so people can make informed decisions, hold those in power accountable, and take actions to improve their lives. We work with information consumers and producers to ensure that people can engage with high-quality content through multiple channels—and freely act upon information that affects them.”

Journalists for Human Rights — “Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is Canada’s leading media development organization. We train journalists to report on human rights and governance issues in their communities.”

Media Development Investment Fund — “MDIF provides affordable financing and technical assistance to independent news and information businesses in challenging environments, helping them to become financially sustainable. We invest in media that provide the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies.”

Panos Network — “Globally and within nations, Panos works with media and other information actors to enable developing countries to shape and communicate their own development agendas through informed public debate.”

Reporters Without Borders — “The world’s biggest NGO specializing in the defense of media freedom, which we regard as the basic human right to be informed and to inform others.”


In the United States


Free Press — “Free Press and Free Press Action Fund are nonpartisan organizations advocating for universal and affordable Internet access, diverse media ownership, vibrant public media and quality journalism.”

Freedom of the Press Foundation — “Freedom of the Press Foundation fights for journalists detained at the border, reporters arrested covering protests, and whistleblowers prosecuted for telling the truth.”

Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University — “The Knight First Amendment Institute defends the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education.”

Media Law Resource Center — “MLRC provides media organizations and leading media attorneys with the essential tools they need to advance First Amendment and media rights, and fosters a supportive community in which counsel can discuss emerging legal issues and prepare for the future of communication.”

National Freedom of Information Coalition — “The National Freedom of Information Coalition protects our right to open government. Our mission is to make sure state and local governments and public institutions have laws, policies and procedures to facilitate the public’s access to their records and proceedings.”

PEN America — “PEN America works at the intersection of human rights and the written word and campaigns tirelessly year round for press freedom and free expression more broadly, in the United States and internationally. We’re powered by a membership of writers and journalists, editors and publishers, readers and other allies, and share our advocacy, research reports, and resources for writers and journalists under threat across the country and worldwide.”

Radio Television Digital News Association’s Voice of the First Amendment Task Force — “The goals of the task force include not only reacting to threats to First Amendment Freedoms, but proactively supporting journalists and educating the public about the importance of a free press to our democracy. The task force is a collaborative effort with broadcast and digital journalism companies, like-minded media associations and others to provide a vigorous defense for the First Amendment, news media access and to combat the growing vitriol toward journalism in the current divisive political and ideological environment.”

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press — “The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press provides pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support, and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists.”

Society Of Professional Journalists / First Amendment Forever Fund — “The Society of Professional Journalists is dedicated to the perpetuation of a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty.”

Student Press Law Center — “The Student Press Law Center works at the intersection of law, journalism and education to promote, support and defend the First Amendment and press freedom rights of student journalists and their advisers at the high school and college level.”

Sunlight Foundation — “The Sunlight Foundation is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses civic technologies, open data, policy analysis and journalism to make our government and politics more accountable and transparent to all.”


This list has been updated to include additional organizations.

Should we add an organization to this list? Email Mel Grau at

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Mel Grau is the senior product specialist at The Poynter Institute, focusing on Poynter's training experiences and newsletters. She previously edited The Cohort, Poynter’s biweekly…
Mel Grau

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