(Image by anyaberkut via Canva)

How we’re supporting journalists’ safety and press freedom

Learn about the Coalition Against Online Violence, ONA23 training and more efforts on safety and security

By on May 17, 2023

ONA collaborates with press freedom advocates, media law experts and other journalism organizations to champion freedom of expression and journalists’ right to do their work. We’re pleased to share an update on some of our latest efforts to protect journalists’ safety.

Amplifying solutions for online violence

ONA is proud to be one of dozens of organizations who are part of the Coalition Against Online Violence. The Coalition provides resources to journalists, especially women, who are being harassed, attacked or abused online; works to find solutions to this problem; offers digital security resources and encourages organizations to keep employees safe.

As a Coalition member, ONA will work with partner organizations to connect more journalists with relevant and timely resources to bolster their digital safety. To get the latest updates, subscribe to the ONA Weekly newsletter, follow us on Twitter @ONA and join our Slack community.

Safety and security training at #ONA23

Training around journalists’ safety and security has always been part of our annual conference. For ONA23: Philadelphia, happening Aug. 23-26, the conference program will include a bundle of interactive sessions addressing multiple dimensions of safety — digital security, physical safety and mental health.

If you need a refresher on online security for journalists, check out our 2022 series Digital Safety Snacks. We collaborated with the International Women’s Media Foundation and PEN America to produce an eight-part video series with concrete steps to fight back. Each short video delivers essential tips from the experts, including sessions on securing social media accounts, password hygiene and navigating data brokers.

Subscribe to our conference newsletter and follow us on Twitter @ONAConf for regular updates about the ONA23 program. If you’re ready to register, Early Bird passes for ONA23 are available now through June 7.

Legal affairs and advocacy

As part of our work around protecting journalists, ONA often signs on to media-freedom advocacy efforts. Here are some of the latest friend-of-the-court briefs and public letters we have joined.

  • In January, ONA joined a broad coalition of organizations and media outlets led by Demand Progress and the Freedom of the Press Foundation in urging U.S. House leadership to allow C-SPAN to have control of cameras that broadcast and stream floor proceedings.
  • In April, ONA joined dozens of organizations led by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in signing onto a friend-of-the-court brief in Zeitlin v. Cohan. In this appeal before the New York Supreme Court, businessman Jide Zeitlin is suing freelance journalist William Cohan for defamation. Cohan has asked to dismiss the lawsuit as frivolous; a trial court agreed, but Zeitlin appealed and the case is pending before the appeals court. RCFP, ONA and others are asking the appeals court to affirm the trial court’s ruling.
  • ONA has continued to support RCFP’s efforts in the long-running defamation case of Gottwald (Dr. Luke) v. Sebert (Kesha). In March, ONA and others signed a brief in support of the pop star, who is trying to overturn a trial court ruling that music producer Dr. Luke is not a public figure. Rulings on whether individuals are legally considered public figures can affect journalists’ work, and ONA is committed to following this important case.
  • In April, ONA co-signed a letter led by the National Press Club urging President Joe Biden’s administration to prioritize reporters taken hostage by state actors and unjustly detained, such as Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained by Russian security forces since March, and Austin Tice, who was kidnapped in Syria over a decade ago. Read the letter and explore The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of Gershkovich’s case.
  • In May, ONA joined the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Committee to Protect Journalists and a coalition of more than 45 organizations that called for overturning the convictions of journalists Matilda Bliss and Veronica Coit in North Carolina. The two were arrested for trespassing while documenting a police sweep of a homeless encampment in December 2021.

Dive deeper

To explore partnerships, promotional opportunities and other ways to invest in ONA’s programs and events, contact Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer Jessica Strelitz.

ONA was founded in 1999 as a forum for digital news pioneers to collaborate on common challenges and encourage the highest journalistic standards. Become an ONA member or make a donation to sustain our mission to inspire and support innovation and excellence in digital journalism.

Carrie Blazina

Carrie Blazina

As ONA’s communications manager, Carrie’s responsibilities include content strategy, event promotion, email and social media campaigns, press releases and overall editorial support.