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Monday, June 7, 2021
MFIA Clinic Receives $200,000 Contribution from Craig Newmark Philanthropies
For the second year, the Media Freedom & Information Access (MFIA) Clinic at Yale Law School has received a $200,000 contribution from Craig Newmark Philanthropies. The grant will advance the clinic’s core mission of defending the rights of journalists and promoting government accountability in an era when governments are undermining both.
“MFIA is beyond grateful for the continued support from Craig Newmark,” said MFIA Director David Schulz ’78. “This is an important investment in the future of MFIA, and an affirmation of the significance and effectiveness of the work being done by Yale Law students in the MFIA Clinic to defend the rights of support journalists and demand government transparency.”
Craig Newmark Philanthropies supports organizations committed to advancing trustworthy journalism, food security, 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.”
MFIA was the first law school clinic in the country founded to defend press freedoms and protect access to government information, with the overarching goal of ensuring that the type of watchdog journalism essential for democracy flourishes. This renewed investment from Craig Newmark Philanthropies will enable MFIA to sustain its advocacy for newsgatherers’ rights and 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: litigation for PEN America challenging the Trump administration’s retaliatory removal of White House press passes, compelling the release of information concerning the CIA’s development of its controversial harsh interrogation techniques for journalist Ray Bonner and documentarian Alex Gibney, support of litigation defending journalists targeted by police during Black Lives Matter protests, and joining forces with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Harvard Rule of Law Clinic during the 2020 election to educate journalists about the laws in 11 key states that govern access to polling places and locations where ballots are counted. 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.