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September 3, 2019 - Updated on September 5, 2019

Reporters Without Borders Announces $1.5M Gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to Support Transparency and Ethics in News and Media

Craig Newmark / © Craig Newmark Philanthropies
Gift from craigslist founder’s foundation to facilitate implementation of Journalism Trust Initiative


PARIS, September 5, 2019 – Reporters Without Borders, also known internationally as Reporters sans frontières (RSF), is pleased to announce a $1.5 million gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies. The philanthropic funding will help RSF to implement its Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI).

JTI aims to create a mechanism for helping news and media outlets to signal transparency, verification, error correction, editorial independence, and compliance with ethical norms. Launched with the European Broadcasting Union, Agence France Presse, and the Global Editors Network, it pursues a self-regulatory and voluntary process.

The Initiative will consist of two phases. The first focuses on the development of a consensus-based set of standards for journalism. Over 120 stakeholders, including media outlets and many other types of institutions, joined this process, and in June 2019, the provisional recommendations that they developed were adopted. On July 3 of this year, the standards document was made public, and an open consultation was launched. This gives anyone the opportunity to provide feedback, which will be incorporated into the finalized standards document, the CEN Workshop Agreement, to be released toward the end of 2019. 

In the second phase of this effort, news and media outlets will be able to implement the standards. Starting in early 2020, they will be able to seek certification by self-assessing their compliance and then submitting for external auditing. JTI will use the data that results from this process to develop machine-readable signals that will help tech companies and advertisers, as well as the public, to identify and support trustworthy news. The goal will be to drive revenue to journalism that is worthy of its name.

We are very proud to announce this major support from Craig Newmark, who is highly active in the defense of trustworthy journalism and the fight against disinformation," said Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of RSF. "For the past few months, RSF has been investing in this initiative, and this gift will allow us to extend and promote the program to all of our constituents, including the public. We at RSF are confident that this self-regulatory approach can help combat the informational chaos in which we have been living for the last several years and which threatens democracies.”

In line with the guidelines of the European Committee for Standardization, the Initiative will eventually provide the news and media industry with a self-regulatory mechanism, offering tangible advantages to outlets that comply with the standards.

"With disinformation flowing through social platforms and the news around the world, journalism organizations need to commit to transparency and ethics and then stand up and say to their audiences, ‘Hey, you can trust me, and here’s why,’" said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. "RSF is doing a critical job by incentivizing this work and making it easier for news and media organizations to do the right thing."

About RSF

Founded in 1985, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has become one of the world's leading NGOs in the defence and promotion of freedom of information. RSF is registered in France as a non-profit organization and has consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the International Organization of the Francophonie. Based in Paris, it has fourteen international bureaux (Berlin, Brussels, Dakar, Geneva, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm, San Francisco, Taipei, Tunis, Vienna and Washington, D.C.) and has more than 150 correspondents in 130 countries, in all five continents. More about RSF at www.rsf.org

About Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. It works to advance people and grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans and military families. For more information, please visit: craignewmarkphilanthropies.org.