In response to alarming increases worldwide in the number of journalists being arrested in the line of duty, Homelands Productions, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has established the Public Interest Reporting Defense Fund (PIRDF). The fund is intended for journalists who need help paying legal fees and related costs incurred as a consequence of being arrested while doing their jobs, or those who are facing lawsuits filed against them because of their reporting.
The Public Interest Reporting Defense Fund provides a mechanism for donors who may be interested in a particular case (or in First Amendment issues in general) to make tax-deductible donations to help defray journalists’ legal expenses. Although these donors will be contributing to the fund, and not to an individual reporter, the online donation form allows them to indicate how they would like their donations directed.
Applications are reviewed by the Homelands Productions board of directors. Journalists whose cases are accepted for funding may direct donors to the Homelands Productions support page.
Please note that the PIRDF does not fund civil actions brought by journalists, but it may support journalists being sued in civil court by any person or entity objecting to how they fulfill their duty.
How To Apply
Please apply using this online form. If you would prefer to submit an application by another method, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may want to prepare responses to the following questions in advance:
- Please provide a brief professional biography or description of the organization, focused on previous or ongoing public interest reporting. Limit 2,000 characters.
- Briefly describe the matter of public interest on which the individual or organization was reporting. Limit 2,000 characters.
- Describe the case or matter, with particular attention to the activities of the journalist or organization and law enforcement or other officials. Include links to any news coverage. If the case is in progress or under appeal, please include the history of the case, including the court and jurisdiction and pending deadlines. Limit 5,000 characters.
- Explain how this case represents a violation of, interference with, and/or threat to First Amendment rights. Limit 2,000 characters.
- Explain why your actions were reasonable and necessary to conduct the reporting. Limit 2,000 characters.
- Attach any documents that are directly relevant to the case. These may include case files, legal bills, agreements with publishers, etc. Limit 10MB per file.
How to Donate
The Public Interest Reporting Defense Fund relies entirely on donations and grants. Individual donors may use our online donation form or mail a check to Homelands Productions, 122 Judd Falls Road, Ithaca, NY 14850.
Although you will be contributing to the general defense fund, and not to an individual reporter, the donation form includes a message field for indicating how you would like your donation directed.
If you wish to contribute to the fund as a foundation or other entity, please contact us at email@example.com.