First Look Media, the news organization established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, announced Wednesday a matching fund campaign dedicated to the legal defense of Chelsea Manning, who was convicted in August 2013 after leaking U.S. government documents to Wikileaks.
Through the initiative, First Look Media’s Press Freedom Litigation Fund will match $60,000 in donations to Manning’s legal defense. The money comes jointly from First Look Media, which will contribute $50,000, and one of its most prominent journalists, Glenn Greenwald, who is personally contributing $10,000.
In a post for The Intercept, Greenwald explained the origins of the campaign:
“Whatever else one thinks of Manning, she should not face limits in her ability to pursue her legal rights with full zeal, nor should her already difficult circumstances be exacerbated by worries over how to pay legal fees,” Greenwald wrote. “Her actions redounded to the benefit of all of us, and it’s incumbent on those who are able to do what they can to help her defend her legal rights. It’s in our collective interest to ensure that whistleblowers are able to receive a full, vigorous defense of their rights, and that the government’s pernicious anti-transparency theories be contested.”
News of the matching fund campaign was reported first by Politico.
In a statement on First Look Media’s website, First Look Media General Counsel Lynn Oberlander said First Look is “proud” to make the contribution.
“We hope this support will meaningfully contribute to Chelsea’s appeals, but will also serve as a reminder that she is not alone in this fight.”
The Press Freedom Litigation Fund has come to the aid of journalists and their allies before. Since its inception, the fund has contributed to the legal appeal of David Miranda, Greenwald’s partner, who was detained by UK authorities in August 2013 at Heathrow airport in London. It also contributed to the defense of a defamation case levied against Sahara Reporters, a Nigerian community news organization.