Daniel Ellsberg, a co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, speaking to reporters about the case against Bradley Manning on December 22, 2011, at Fort Meade, Md. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)
Increased government scrutiny and criticism from lawmakers prompted several companies, including MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, to stop processing donations to the non-profit organization. WikiLeaks eventually suspended publication due to the “bank blockade.”
On Sunday, a group of journalists and press freedom activists launched the Freedom of the Press Foundation as a way to crowd-source funding for WikiLeaks and independent journalistic organizations that expose government corruption and advocate for transparency.
“Since WikiLeaks became a front-page news story, secrecy has gotten worse in the U.S,” said Trevor Timm, co-founder and executive director for the Freedom of Press Foundation.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Timm said the idea for the foundation grew out of conversations with fellow co-founders, Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, and John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a former Grateful Dead lyricist.
The foundation plans to direct tax deductible donations to WikiLeaks for as long as payment processors block the organization, while protecting other outlets if they are similarly targeted.
“WikiLeaks was the inspiration for it, but we wanted to make the mission much broader than WikiLeaks,” Timm said.
For that reason, the group is also raising money for three other entities: MuckRock News, an open government organization; National Security Archive, an archive of declassified government documents; and The UpTake, a citizen-journalism news site.