“An independent, free press is critical to democracy both at home and around the world, and as journalists have increasingly come under assault by autocrats and fledgling democracies alike, we must redouble our efforts to protect and promote the freedom of the press.”
– Rep. Adam Schiff
In 2006, Rep. Adam Schiff co-founded the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press to highlight the importance of a free and open press to democracy, as well as draw attention to censorship by repressive regimes and the persecution of journalists. Since then, Adam has stood up for journalists around the world that have been threatened, persecuted, and jailed for reporting the truth or telling the stories that the powerful or violent would rather keep in the shadows.
Holding Nations Accountable for Silencing the Press
Today, there remain far too many nations in which the safety, well-being, and freedoms of journalists are under daily threat. In 2010, Adam along with then-Rep. Mike Pence passed the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, a first of its kind bill to require the State Department to report on the status of press freedom in every country around the world and provide funding aimed at broadening and strengthening the independence of journalists and independent media organizations. Sadly, since then, attacks on journalists have been on the rise.
After the horrific murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was targeted by powerful forces who wished to silence dissenting voices with impunity, Adam introduced the Jamal Khashoggi Press Freedom Accountability Act in October 2020 to ensure that the United States and its State Department hold accountable those who commit extrajudicial killings and other gross violations of human rights against journalists.
This legislation would prohibit U.S. foreign assistance to government entities and levy targeted sanctions against individuals that perpetrate gross human rights violations against journalists and would require the Department of State to document incidents of online harassment and electronic surveillance of journalists in its annual Human Rights Reports. Adam is continuing to work to build support for this legislation.
Left to right, top: Anna Politkovkaya, investigative journalist, Novaya Gazeta;
Ahmed Abba, correspondent, Radio France Internationale;
Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Vietnamese blogger and activist;
Mykola Semena, RFE/RL journalist.
Left to right, second row: Austin Tice, freelancer, Washington Post;
Khadija Ismayilova, RFE/RL journalist and radio host;
Ayla Albayrak, Wall Street Journal reporter;
Matthias Depardon, photojournalist, National Geographic.
Left to right, bottom: Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, journalists, Reuters.
Letter: Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus Co-Chairs express concern about reported harassment and intimidation of employees of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Tajik Service.
Press Release: Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus Recognizes TIME Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year
Press Release: Schiff-Chabot Joint Statement on the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Press Release: Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus Calls for Immediate Release of Ukrainian Journalist Held by Russia-backed Separatist Militants in Eastern Ukraine
Press Release: On World Press Freedom Day: Schiff, Chabot Announce Resolution Highlighting Vital Need For Press Freedom
Press Release: Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus Statement of Support for Pakistani Radio Mashaal
Tweet: Reporting on the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya is not a crime. Burmese authorities must release Wa Lone & Kyaw Soe Oo.
Press Release: Freedom of Press Caucus Urges Secretary Tillerson to Pressure Burma to Release Two Reuters Journalists
Press Release: Freedom of the Press Caucus Condemns Russia’s Designation of Foreign Media as “Foreign Agents”
Tweet: Reporting on poor governance and environmental disasters is not a crime. Quynh must be released immediately. #PressFreedom
Opinion Piece: CNN Opinion Series - The importance of promoting and protecting a free press
Tweet: Rep. Adam Schiff expresses outrage at Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak's prison sentence and Turkey's suppression of the free press
Tweet: Reps. Adam Schiff and Steve Chabot urge Vietnamese government to release detained blogger and human rights activist Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh
Floor Speech: Rep. Adam Schiff speaks against violent assault on peaceful protestors by Erdogan's thugs, and Turkey's status as the world's leading jailor of journalists
Opinion Piece: World Press Freedom Day 2017 (Medium, May 3, 2017)
Press Release: Members of the U.S. Congress Call to Drop Criminal Charges Against Crimean Journalist Mykola Semema
Tweet: Rep. Adam Schiff calls on President Trump to acknowledge human rights violations against journalist Mykola Semena
Video: Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) offer words of support to journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who is serving a 7 1/2 year prison sentence on charges widely viewed as retaliation for her investigation that linked members of President Ilham Aliyev’s family to corruption.
10/4/17 | Briefing: Systemic Attacks on Journalists in Russia and Other Post-Soviet States
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Co-Chair and Founder
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Co-Chair
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA)
December 07, 2022
Congressman Schiff Introduces Bill to Protect Individuals from Harassment by Foreign Governments
September 30, 2022
Schiff, McCollum Introduce Khashoggi Act to Protect Journalists
September 08, 2022
Congressman Schiff on Arrests of Egyptian Journalists