Newsgathering Rights


“In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy.”
New York Times Co. v. United States 403 U.S. 713, 717 (1971)

MFIA pursues litigation and advocates for policies needed to protect the essential work of newsgatherers in the digital age.

Current Cases:

Animal Legal Defense Fund, et al. v. C.L. Butch Otter and Lawrence Wasden, 1:14-cv-00104-BLW (9th Cir.)
MFIA authored a Ninth Circuit amicus brief on behalf of the Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression and a coalition of First Amendment Scholars in support of plaintiffs-respondents challenging the constitutionality of Idaho’s “ag-gag” law, which criminalizes any recording of images of meat packing operations or other agricultural facilities without the express prior consent of the owner.  The Clinic’s brief advocates for the recognition of a right to record matters of public concern from any location where a person is lawfully present.

Other Initiatives:

DocProject: Legal Services for Independent Filmmakers

The DocProject is a new program of the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School. Under the guidance of experienced media lawyers, Yale law students provide filmmakers with pro bono legal research and advice from the earliest stages of their projects through rough-cuts. The project’s mission is twofold: to assist documentary filmmakers who would not otherwise have access to legal resources, and to train the next generation of media lawyers.