WikiLeaks earns $84,000 from crowdsourced campaign
05 February 2013 | 2292 views | 0
Source: Freedom of the Press Foundation
Freedom of the Press Foundation is launching its second fund-raising campaign in support of cutting-edge journalism focused on transparency and accountability, after its first six-week campaign ended on Sunday with over $196,000 in crowd-funded donations.
The second campaign will feature three new investigative journalism organizations—Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Center for Public Integrity, and Truthout. This time around, donors will be able to support specific, secrecy-busting investigative projects that have been tailored for Freedom of the Press Foundation.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism aims to expand its groundbreaking report on secretive US drones strikes with its "naming the dead" project. The Bureau will provide accurate and verifiable evidence identifying as many individuals as possible killed by drones strikes, whether they are militants or civilians. Read more here.
The Center for Public Integrity plans to dig deeper into the secret and convoluted world of U.S. military budgeting and spending—now amounting to half the federal discretionary budget—and provide investigative reports on wasteful weapons systems, the financial relationships between defense contractors and members of Congress, and the explosion of military entitlement spending. Read more here.
Truthout will be sending their lead investigative reporter, Jason Leopold, to Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp over the course of the next year to cover the military commission trials of the alleged 9/11 co-conspirators. The commissions have been steeped in controversy since their creation, and have since become home to some of the most excessive and arbitrary secrecy in recent memory. Read more here.
"We are very excited that the Foundation is supporting our work in this way, as we develop new ways of funding public interest journalism," said Christopher Hird, managing editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
"As an independent investigative news organization, the non-profit, non-partisan Center for Public Integrity depends on individuals and foundations for virtually all of its support," added CPI's executive director Bill Buzenberg. "I am very pleased that the Freedom of Press Foundation is helping us by drawing in cg in crowd-funding for our National Security investigative projects."
In addition to these three projects, Freedom of the Press Foundation will continue to take donations to WikiLeaks since organization still cannot receive direct donations via the major payment processors. Read more here.
"Financial transactions are speech. The financial embargo was censorship - not just of WikiLeaks but of all of us who wished to donate to WikiLeaks," said board member and co-founder John Perry Barlow. "So WikiLeaks is going to stay on through the next bundle, as long as they are still being unduly financially censored. And if this were to happen to another journalism organization, they would go right to the front of the line as well."
Matching Donation From John Cusack and Seed Grant From Sunlight Foundation
The second Freedom of the Press Foundation bundle is launching with a $10,000 matching donation from Freedom of the Press Board member John Cusack. Every donation users make online will be doubled for the first $10,000 we receive.
"I hope this matching donation will encourage small and large donors alike to support transparency journalism," said Cusack. "We want this Foundation to be part of a broad-based movement to restore and protect the First Amendment. It's up to the public to bring transparency to the government if the government won't bring it to us."
Starting today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is also the proud recipient of a $10,000 seed grant from the Sunlight Foundation, which will be used for operating costs. The Sunlight Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike.
Breakdown of First Bundle: WikiLeaks, MuckRock, National Security Archive and The UpTake
The initial fundraising campaign ran from December 17th, 2012 through February 3rd, 2013 and funded four independent media outlets: The National Security Archive, MuckRock News, The UpTake, and WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks received approximately $82,000 of the donations, National Security Archive received $18,000, MuckRock received $16,000, and The UpTake received $15,500.
After operations costs, which go to our fiscal sponsor, and payment processor fees, the remainder of the donations—approximately $45,000—went to the Foundation itself. We will use a bulk of these funds to hand out a series of grants and prizes to organizations and individuals best exemplifying the Foundation's mission at the end of the year.
Freedom of the Press Foundation was founded in the winter of 2012 to crowd-fund a variety of journalism institutions—both start-ups and established organizations—who are dedicated to aggressive, uncompromising journalism in the vein of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers. The Foundation's Board of Directors is comprised of journalists and free expression advocates, including John Perry Barlow, Daniel Ellsberg, Xeni Jardin, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Josh Stearns, Rainey Reitman, Trevor Timm, and John Cusack.