The email provider Proton is teaming up with Reporters Without Borders to help protect journalists.
The company, based in Geneva, Switzerland, traditionally holds a year-end fundraiser to support organizations that work to protect privacy and freedom of speech, But this year, the company wanted to be more ambitious.
In the partnership, Proton will provide its email products to journalists affiliated with Reporters Without Borders (known by the acronym RSF) in conflict zones or under repressive regimes. It will also raise money for RSF’s programs, including a scholarship and programs that provide financial and logistical support to journalists who are victims of reprisals.
In addition, Proton will send its people to RSF seminars to train journalists on how to protect themselves from cyberthreats, avoid online surveillance and bypass censorship and work with RSF staff to identify new areas of cooperation and coordination over the coming 12 months.
Independent journalism is under attack in a way it hasn’t been before, the company said in a press release. “Governments all over the world are using censorship and intimidation to shut down dissent, and we all have a responsibility to defend these vital freedoms,” Proton said.
Two factors drove the decision to partner with RSF.
First is the belief that freedom of the press is critical to the ability of societies to make informed decisions, said Proton. Freedom of the press offers a mechanism that allows verification that other freedoms haven’t been violated. Second, RSF has an impeccable reputation, and Proton has worked with RSF in the past, giving it confidence that its money and support will have a durable impact.
In addition, empowering reporters with the security, privacy and freedom to do their work online has always been a guiding principle in the development of Proton’s suite of encrypted products.
“We are very happy that ProtonMail wants to support our worldwide commitment to press freedom,” Christophe Deloire, RSF Director General, said. “Especially in war and crisis zones and under autocrats and dictators, secure communication is vital — for journalists themselves, but also for their sources.”
Proton stated: “An independent, free press is an essential part of any democracy.”