Freedom Without Borders: Defending the Press

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In the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) aimed to highlight the significance of press freedom and underscore Congress' responsibility in safeguarding it. To achieve this, they initiated the #DefendPressFreedom ad campaign, urging the American electorate to question Congressional candidates about their strategies for upholding press freedom if elected in November.



During a consequential election season, RSF sought to solidify its position as a leading advocate for press freedom while highlighting the crucial role journalists play in keeping the American public informed. The Glen Echo Group was entrusted with creating a compelling digital and print advertising campaign that effectively conveyed the appropriate tone and emotion to underscore the severity of the current state of press freedom in the United States.


In order to drive home the urgency and weight of the issue, we employed somber tones with clearly recognizable, but subtly altered symbols of the press. An antiquated typewriter, paired with a rustic, patriotic background, gave historic weight to the message, “Free press is essential to our democracy.” And shredded newspaper dangled over the direct, powerful message—"There is no democracy without free press"—is a modern-day metaphor for the deletion of information. The ads featured a bold call to action, asking viewers to contact and question their local congressional candidates running for election about their plans to protect the freedom of the press.


The RSF #DefendPressFreedom ad campaign ran in metro stations and bus shelters as well as in national print and digital publications including USA Today, McClatchy, The Texas Tribune and via News Media Alliance and Association of Alternative Media’s many, widespread member outlets.

Beyond placement in traditional print and digital media, RSF—along with a number of their partner publications—promoted the assets widely on social media, successfully maximizing engagement with voters across the country.


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