Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos is giving USD 1 million to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the largest-ever gift to the media rights watchdog. The gift from Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post newspaper, was announced at the organization’s awards dinner yesterday. “This generous gift will help us continue to grow, to offer our legal and educational support to many more news organizations, and to expand our services to independent journalists, nonprofit newsrooms and documentary filmmakers,” Reporters Committee chairman David Boardman said. “We’ll also be better positioned to help local newsrooms, the places hit hardest by the disruption in the news industry and whose survival is every bit as crucial to American democracy as those entities headquartered in Washington and New York.”
The Reporters Committee also announced it will play a role in administering the First Look Media Press Freedom Defense Fund of up to $6 million. First Look, a news organization established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, announced separately yesterday it will increase its funding for its press freedom fund to USD 2 million and offer an additional USD 2 million in matching funds. Both Bezos and Omidyar in recent months have cited a need for efforts to support an independent press.
Bezos said last year during President Donald Trump’s campaign that the candidate was “working to freeze or chill the media that are examining him.” The Omidyar Network, a philanthropy established by the eBay founder, last month pledged USD 100 million to support independent and investigative journalism worldwide. Omidyar said in a tweet about the initiative last month: “The fight against misinformation, authoritarian lies, and online abuse is a fight we can win.”