RSF University Chapters


  1. What is Reporters Without Borders USA?

Founded in 1985, Reporters Without Borders is the largest press freedom organization in the world, with over 150 correspondents across the globe.

Reporters Without Borders…

– defends journalists and media assistants imprisoned or persecuted for doing their job and exposes the mistreatment and torture of them in many countries.

– fights against censorship and laws that undermine press freedom.

– gives financial aid each year to journalists or media outlets in difficulty (to pay for lawyers, medical care and equipment) as well to the families of imprisoned journalists.

- works to improve the safety of journalists, especially those reporting in war zones.

In some countries a journalist can be thrown in prison for years for a single offending word or photo. Jailing or killing a journalist removes a vital witness to events and threatens the right of us all to be informed.

In the United States, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is a 501c3 organization carrying out the mission to protect and defend journalists working both internationally and in the United States. With an office in Washington, D.C., the U.S. team works with the American media, political leaders, non-government groups and the American public to further press freedom.

  1. What is a Reporters Without Borders University chapter?

Reporters Without Borders USA university chapters are membership-based groups that give students the opportunity to raise awareness among their peers of press freedom issues all over the world.

  1. What are the benefits of being involved in a Reporters Without Borders University chapter?

As part of RSF University Chapter network, members create a formalized structure in which to engage in human rights activities, take part in local and international initiatives, and develop important leadership skills and global experience.

If you are an aspiring journalist, human rights activist, or just if you want to raise awareness of press freedom issues in the United States and all over the world, getting involved in an official Reporters Without Borders USA chapter can bring direct access to inaccessible knowledge and connections.

Credentials Benefits and Activities

– Engage in human rights activities by taking part in local and international initiatives

– Develop important leadership skills and global experience in a formalized structure

– Organize at least three main events a year around the five main Reporters Without Borders events:

– World Press Freedom Index (April);

– World Day Against Cyber Censorship (March 12th);

– World Press Freedom Day (May 3rd);

– Peter Mackler Award (October);

– Reporters Without Borders Prize (December)

or documentary film screenings, mobilization campaigns, petition drives, fundraising events, and area festivals or fairs related to media/journalism with the assistance from Reporters Without Borders.

Educational Benefits

– Specific monthly US Chapter updates on possible topics for discussion, films to screen, potential speakers, and practical information for student journalists: legislation for journalists in the US, tips on cyber security issues, etc.

Networking Benefits

– Compete to win the RSF University Award which goes to the first chapter to register 50 members. The prize will include a trip for two officers of the chapter to travel to D.C. for meetings with high-level journalists and attendance at a press freedom event.

IMPORTANT: As a student member and a university chapter member, you are not accredited to be a spokesperson of Reporters Without Borders USA.

  1. How can you start a University chapter of Reporters Without Borders USA at your school?

If at least three students currently enrolled at your University want to raise press freedom issues and create a Reporters Without Borders USA chapter, submit an application packet with an action plan to our D.C. office (

In your plan of action, you should explain why you want to create a chapter, what issues/areas of the world are you most interested in, how will you be able to spread the word about press freedom, and engage fellow students and the community and what professors/staff (if any) will be involved in your chapter.

You should get necessary administrative approval from your university, including faculty support if needed.

Application packet needs to include:

– Action plan (2 pages max)

– Names of at least five students/professors/staff who are already RSF USA members (link to the US membership page)

– A letter from your college or university indicating its recognition of your group if needed

– A copy of your bylaws (following the sample we provide here)

to Reporters Without Borders USA

1500 K Street, NW

Suite 600

Washington, DC 20005

If your submission is accepted, you will receive your accreditation and some initial materials (posters, map, postcards,…) to officially launch the chapter in your university.

  1. What is expected of you once we are recognized as a chapter of Reporters Without Borders?

The three basic ingredients to a successful chapter are leadership, programs, and membership. Nothing effective will happen without officers who lead and provide membership with programs and activities through which they can realize their own goals and aspirations.

We encourage you to organize at least three main events a year to raise awareness of press freedom issues. These events could also be good opportunities to raise funds for Reporters Without Borders. You should send the funds raised to our D.C. office who will be able to send fiscal receipts to the American donors.

We request you to send an annual activity report (2 pages max with pictures of events) and to renew membership once a year.

Reporters Without Borders USA team looks forward to assisting you in your exciting and worthy adventure: