As papers shrink who will fight for free speech?


Newspapers were at the center of many free speech and access-to-information battles of the last century, but those days are all but done. Most newspapers are a husk of their former selves, and their legal budgets are as desiccated as the classified ad sections that once made them rich.

This raises the question of who will fund high-stakes public interest battles instead. Will it be the tech giants, like Google and Twitter, whose platforms have largely supplanted the newspapers as a daily source of information? Or does the tech industry’s fixation with growth and data control preclude it from truly taking up the public interest torch?

Opinions are mixed. Some think an important element of public interest advocacy will disappear with the newspaper industry. Others, meanwhile, express hope that companies born of the digital world are already learning to step up as advocates of the public interest.

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