18 December 2012
Dissent to Freedom of the Press Foundation
Combat deaths at a high, risks shift for journalists
By Frank Smyth/Senior Adviser for Journalist Security
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2012 08:02:58 -0500
From: John Young <jya[at]pipeline.com>
Subject: Re: Why we all have a stake in the Freedom of the Press Foundation
A worthy initiative for the press.
Unfortunately press is only one means of freedom of expression, speech, writing,
demonstration, opposition, dissent and creative trouble-making-- and hardly
objective due to its commercial objective and very loud-mouth, conceit, craven
to power and vanity bred by constituional protection of its risk-averse cartel.
Press has generated too many fortunes to be singled out for crowd-sourced
Freedom of the Press is way too limiting, but then that is the nature of
its organizers and board members. The rich ones in particular are notabably
uninvolved in acitivities that would threaten their wealth and freedom to
lord it over the poor fans being urged to crowd-fund just like venal politicians
who also adore the press for amplifying their campaigns for dumping crocks
of shit on the public.
Far better would be for a huge increase in disorganized initiatives of the
unruly crowd far from being controlled and exploited by lucrative investment
Watch out for the crowd-sourcing predators driving the market in the cloud,
the latest invention for spying on and profiling the public for marketing
Dan Gillmor has been had by his friends, at best, at worst, complicit in
the market boosting deception of obedient crowds.
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2012 09:03:51 +0100
From: Eugen Leitl <eugen[at]leitl.org>
Subject: Why we all have a stake in the Freedom of the Press Foundation
----- Forwarded message from Peter Langston <MiniFunPeople[at]psl.to>
From: Peter Langston <MiniFunPeople[at]psl.to>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2012 14:33:34 -0800
To: The MiniFunPeople List <MiniFunPeople[at]psl.to>
Subject: Why we all have a stake in the Freedom of the Press
Forwarded-by: Dave Farber <dave[at]farber.net>
From: *Dewayne Hendricks* <dewayne[at]warpspeed.com
Why we all have a stake in the Freedom of the Press Foundation
This new nonprofit to protect WikiLeaks and other whistleblowers from payment
systems blocking deserves our support
By Dan Gillmor Dec 17, 2012
Two years ago this month, the major online payment systems -- Visa, Mastercard,
PayPal and more -- cut off one of the world's most famous journalism
organizations from the public. They stopped taking payments on behalf of
WikiLeaks and, in the process, highlighted one of the most dangerous threats
to modern journalism: the ability of centralized third parties to make trouble
for anyone and any organization they didn't like, for whatever reason.
With a few exceptions, the traditional journalism industry has been all but
indifferent to what happened -- a payment boycott done almost certainly under
pressure from the American government, which was and remains infuriated by
WikiLeaks' methods and results. No other journalism-related organization
has been treated this way, as far as I know. But given the rise of independent
media organizations and the utter lack of accountability the payment systems
have faced for their outrageous actions, the threat is greater than ever.
The journalists' silence was unfortunate but, sad to say, a reflection of
most media companies' coziness with the rich and powerful in America and
around the world. It's fair to assume, though, that had any one of those
companies been shut out of modern payment systems, the entire industry would
have: a) created a huge outcry; and b) found ways to go around the centralized
systems that had taken such pernicious actions.
So I'm glad to see the emergence of a new not-for-profit group whose
mission is to "promote and fund aggressive, public-interest journalism
focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in
government". It's called the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Its method
is "crowd-funding" -- pulling together donations from people like you and
me -- and it could be a game-changer.
The foundation is based in San Francisco, with a board of directors that
includes Daniel Ellsberg (of Pentagon Papers fame), John Perry Barlow (co-founder
of the Electronic Frontier Foundation), Xeni Jardin (from BoingBoing), the
Guardian's Glenn Greenwald and several others in the civil liberties and
media arenas. (Disclosure: I am friends with several board members, and have
offered advice to the founders.)
What's novel are the tactics: the foundation will be accepting donations
from individuals and then forwarding them along, according to the donors'
specific direction, to organizations designed by foundation. The list of
organizations will evolve over time; the first group includes WikiLeaks,
MuckRock, the National Security Archive and the UpTake, all of which are
worthy of support.
The foundation has come up with clear and useful criteria for its selections:
1. Record of engaging in transparency journalism or supporting it in a material
way, including support for whistleblowers.
2. Public interest agenda.
3. Organizations or individuals under attack for engaging in transparency
4. Need for support: the foundation's goal is to prioritize support for
organizations and individuals who are in need of funding or who face obstacles
to gaining support on their own.
The system the foundation has devised is simple and smart. Donors can designate
as many or few of the organizations as he or she chooses, with online "sliders"
that make it easy to raise or lower the percentage going to each of the chosen
groups. The foundation also accepts donations, and it takes an 8% cut of
the proceeds for operational costs. I'm donating immediately, and will designate
that my gift goes to all four organizations, with the bulk to WikiLeaks,
given its especially endangered status.
The crowdfunding method takes a page from the "HumbleBundle" operation, which
has been offering software, books and games this way -- asking people to
donate whatever they wish, and choosing which providers and/or organizations
will get what percentage of their donations. Then, the donors can download
Donations range widely. I've participated several times. The best part is
that everyone involved gets value from the system.
The obvious question raised by the Freedom of the Press Foundation initiative
is whether the payment systems will shut this off, too. If they do, they'll
be punishing not just WikiLeaks, but the entire journalism ecosystem -- and
ultimately, your right to get the information you want and need. Will they
extend the bad faith they showed two years ago?
That I even have to ask this question is evidence of the power of these
centralized mega-corporations. They have far too much power, like too many
other telecommunications companies and a number of others in the information
and communications industries on which we rely more and more for our daily
The Freedom of the Press Foundation can be a first step away from the edge
of a cliff. But it needs to be recognized and used by as many people as possible,
as fast as possible. And journalists, in particular, need to offer their
support in every way. This is ultimately about their future, whether they
recognize it or not. But it's more fundamentally about all of us.
I encourage you to support the foundation and the organizations it is trying
to help. This is about your future, too.
----- End forwarded message -----
Eugen* Leitl http://leitl.org
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