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Tuesday, June 9, 2020
MFIA Clinic Receives $200,000 Contribution from Craig Newmark Philanthropies
The Media Freedom & Information Access (MFIA) Clinic at Yale Law School has received a $200,000 contribution from Craig Newmark Philanthropies. The grant will help advance the clinic’s core mission of defending the rights of journalists and promoting transparency in an era when governments are undermining both.
“MFIA is grateful for this show of support from Craig Newmark,” said MFIA Director David Schulz ’78. “It is an affirmation of both the significance and the effectiveness of the remarkable work being done by Yale Law students in the MFIA Clinic.”
Craig Newmark Philanthropies has made similar recent contributions to organizations committed to supporting trustworthy journalism, voter protection, women in technology, and veteran and military families.
“Given increasing threats to journalists and whistleblowers in recent years, the need for the legal services provided by the MFIA Clinic is greater than ever,” said Newmark. “We are proud to support MFIA’s work in these particularly troubling times. Trusted journalism stands at the frontlines of democracies under attack across the globe. We must do all we can to support those bringing our world accurate information.”
MFIA was the first law school clinic in the country that was founded to fight actions threatening press freedoms and limiting access to government information, with the overarching goal of ensuring that the type of watchdog journalism essential for democracy to function is able to continue. This investment from Craig Newmark Philanthropies will enable MFIA to increase its advocacy for newsgatherers’ rights and to strengthen the Clinic’s efforts to build alliances with other groups supporting the essential work of journalists.
MFIA provides pro bono legal services to journalists and government accountability advocates. Its recent successes include winning the dismissal of a lawsuit for false light invasion of privacy that had threatened to bankrupt an independent news site dedicated to reporting on city government in Norwalk, Connecticut, as well as lifting a CIA gag-order imposed on a former FBI agent that was preventing him from discussing his first-hand observations in a documentary in production about the CIA’s harsh interrogation program. MFIA’s ongoing lawsuits include an action to strike down a Texas law that prevents journalists from using drones in their newsgathering and a lawsuit to unseal records of a grand jury convened 40 years ago to investigate the leak of the Pentagon Papers.
Craig Newmark is a web pioneer, philanthropist, and leading advocate. Most commonly known for founding the online classified ads service Craigslist, Newmark works to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. In 2016, he founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies to advance people and grassroots 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. At its core, all of Newmark’s philanthropic work helps to strengthen American democracy by supporting the values that the country aspires to — fairness, opportunity, and respect. For more information, please visit: CraigNewmarkPhilanthropies.org.