Press Freedom

What We Defend

Freedom of the press protects the ability of journalists and news media to publish information free from official censorship. A free press serves an important role as the Fourth Estate in our democratic society, keeping the citizenry informed so that individuals may oversee the actions of the government. As Ida B. Wells stated, “The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.”

On college campuses, student journalists play a pivotal role in keeping other students informed about the actions of administrators, student governments, and more. FIRE defends freedom of the press on campus by providing resources and advocacy for student journalists through our Student Press Freedom Initiative. SPFI's 24/7 legal hotline at 717-734-7734 means that college journalists never have to face an act of censorship or an urgent legal issue alone.

From Milton to The New York Times: How the free press shaped the free world


Defending the Free Student Press

FIRE’s Student Press Freedom Initiative (SPFI) defends free press on campus by advocating for the rights of student journalists at colleges and universities across the country and offers helpful resources on student press censorship and information on the role of student media.

Student Press Training Videos

Libel? Privacy? Intellectual property? When you’re producing a publication, there are so many legal risks to keep in mind. But don’t fear! We’ll go over tips and tricks for reviewing your own content to keep you out of the courtroom and in the newsroom.

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Role of student publications on college campuses.


Student journalists and publications play a vital role in informing their fellow students about campus events, serving as a check on their school’s administration, and uncovering stories that outside media might miss. With more and more local news outlets shuttering, many college newspapers are the primary source of information about not only what’s happening on campuses but also their surrounding communities. 

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Free PRESSED: How Administrative Censorship is Squeezing Student Newsrooms

We know from news reports—and from calls to FIRE and other advocacy organizations—that censorship of student media does, unfortunately, happen. But what neither news reports nor the calls the requests for help we receive tell us is the prevalence of this problem. This series of surveys contained in this report was designed to help illuminate that question.

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Student Press Censorship
Haskell Indian Nations University Student Journalist Jared Nally
Joining our student newspaper gave me a voice, and unfortunately it’s going to take a lawsuit for the university to listen to it.

FIRE helped me defend my rights.

Student Story

When Haskell Indian Nations University silenced student journalist Jared Nally, FIRE intervened.

Read Jared's Story