Boston Protests: NEFAC Co-Sponsors Free Legal Hotline for Journalists, Partners with U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

With thousands of protesters expected to assemble this weekend on the Boston Common for the “Free Speech Rally” and counter-demonstrations, the New England First Amendment Coalition is encouraging the public to use the following resources:

Pro Bono Legal Services for Journalists

NEFAC is co-sponsoring a hotline for journalists covering this weekend’s events. Media lawyers from Prince Lobel Tye will be offering pro bono legal assistance to print, broadcast and online journalists. The New England Newspaper & Press Association and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are also sponsoring the hotline.

Volunteer attorneys will be available throughout the weekend to advise reporters who are arrested or experience other problems with law enforcement while covering the rally, demonstrations or related events.

The hotline will be in operation from 3 p.m. Aug. 18 through 5 p.m. Aug. 20, and longer if necessary. The phone number is 888.428.7490. If for some reason you are unable to get through on that number, please call 617.456.8018. You can also email or tweet @PLT_Media.

Robert A. Bertsche, chairman of the Prince Lobel Media and First Amendment group and a NEFAC board member, is coordinating calls for the hotline. For more more information, please email him at

U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

NEFAC recently partnered with 28 national press advocates and media organizations to create an online repository for reports of attacks against the press.

This nonpartisan website aims to be the first to provide reliable, easy-to-access information on the number of press freedom violations in the United States – from journalists facing charges to reporters stopped at the U.S. border or asked to hand over their electronics.

“With hostilities toward the press on the rise, it’s important that we document each threat,” said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director. “Please help us be vigilant and report any attacks against journalists and anyone impeding their newsgathering.”

With at least four journalists attacked while covering recent protests in Virginia, NEFAC is asking anyone with information about threats to the press during the protests in Boston to email Silverman at or to report the incident directly to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC for this year include the Barr Foundation, The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, The Robertson Foundation, Lois Howe McClure, The Boston Globe and Boston University. Celebration Supporters include The Hartford Courant and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.