The owner of the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos, who also founded Amazon and space company Blue Origin, recently made a personal gift of $250,000 to the US branch of the international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, also known under its French name Reporters sans frontières (RSF). He gave this generous grant in order to further the organization’s work, which has included assisting Jason Rezaian, who was held in an Iranian jail for over a year while he was the Post’s Tehran bureau chief, and Austin Tice, the last American journalist detained in Syria since 2012.
“On behalf of my colleagues and the board of Reporters Without Borders USA, we are grateful to Jeff Bezos for a significant grant to empower our activities,” said Peter O. Price, RSF US Board Chairman. “It will help to support our mission to secure press freedom in the US. We will soon be opening an office in San Francisco in order to expand our operations and influence to the west coast of the US.”
Over the past year, RSF’s US office has been working to protect and defend press freedom not only abroad, but increasingly in the United States. Continued verbal attacks against journalists, multiple denials of press access both at the White House and on official trips abroad, and the substantial increase in arrests and physical attacks of reporters, have all contributed to a significant and alarming decline in freedom for press in America.