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Friday, April 21, 2023
Craig Newmark Philanthropies Supports MFIA Clinic for a Fourth Year
The Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) announced that it will continue its partnership with Craig Newmark Philanthropies for a fourth year. Newmark’s $150,000 gift will advance the clinic’s core mission of defending the rights of journalists and promoting government accountability.
The MFIA clinic was the first in the country founded to promote government accountability by defending freedom of the press and enforcing the public’s right to know. The clinic provides pro bono litigation services to journalists, small and online news organizations, academic researchers, and advocacy organizations.
“The MFIA Clinic is proud to partner with Craig Newmark in the defense of a free press and fact-based journalism and gratified by this continuing vote of confidence,” said Floyd Abrams Lecturer in Law and MFIA Director David Schulz ’78. “Craig’s commitment to defending the interests of journalists has enabled MFIA to expand its efforts at a time when this work is vitally needed.”
In 2022–23, Craig Newmark Philanthropies’ support enabled the appointment of a full-time fellow, attorney and Clinical Lecturer in Law Rachel Davidson. As the clinic’s second Craig Newmark Fellow, Davidson has overseen an important docket advancing press freedoms.
Over the past year, support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies has enabled MFIA to challenge a judgement that threatens the future of the Freedom of Information Act, file suit against the State Department and West Point for flouting transparency laws, demand the release of information on a controversial parole algorithm used in New York, and win a major victory for public oversight by reducing the scope of an exemption to FOIA.
The clinic has received several accolades in this period, including the inaugural Mitchell W. Pearlman Freedom of Information Award from the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government, honors from the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, and the Alicia Calzada First Amendment Award from the National Press Photographers Association.
“A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy, and helps protect our country,” Newmark said. “That includes protecting journalists from litigation that seeks to attack the truth.”
Most commonly known for founding the online classified ads service craigslist, Newmark creates and funds networks that work to protect the country and to help people out. In 2016, he founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement, working to advance organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism and the information ecosystem, voter protection, women in technology, and veterans and military families.
The Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic is dedicated to increasing government transparency, defending the essential work of news gatherers, and protecting freedom of expression through impact litigation, direct legal services, and policy work.