Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people.

Democracy Fund

PEN American Center: Combatting Online Harassment

PEN America Center, a non-profit organization based in New York, works to advance literature, defend free expression, and champion the freedom to write to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Why We Invested

In response to the growing threat that online hate and harassment pose to free expression, PEN America has developed a first-of-its-kind digital toolkit, the Online Harassment Field Manual, based on extensive research and interviews with writers, journalists, technology experts, editors, newsrooms, and advocacy groups. In addition to the digital toolkit, PEN America conducts trainings for newsrooms and journalist membership associations to teach reporters how to prepare and react to online attacks.

Democracy Fund believes online harassment is a matter of press freedom. Abusive and violent threats are tactics used to silence and intimidate journalists, particularly women and people of color, in response to their reports on critical public issues. In addition to damaging individuals’ personal safety and wellbeing, these threats result in a form of censorship when they cause journalists to reduce their online work, change the focus of their reporting to avoid controversial or politically charged subjects, or leave the field altogether.

Democracy Fund is proud to support this work that helps ensure the safety and freedom of expression for all journalists.

Total Commitment

2019: $200,000 over two years