Ensuring the public has access to objective, accurate news and information.

Renata Brito covering protests in the Spain-France border

From the United Nations Security Council to the United States Congress, we take our message where it needs to be heard. Leading the way since 1846.

We are committed to our news values and hold ourselves to the highest journalistic standards.

Once welcomed as the voice of truth and fairness, and the public eyewitness to history, journalists today are targets, with attacks no longer limited to conflict zones.

Protecting journalists worldwide is important to us.

With AP’s global footprint, gathering news in nearly 100 countries, our reporters face dangers every day. We take the safety of our staff seriously — our global security team continually visits and updates security at our worldwide locations, particularly those in conflict zones. Reporters covering dangerous situations, from the recent wars in Ukraine and fighting in parts of Africa and the Middle East, to civil unrest in the United States and western Europe, carry the latest safety equipment and receive intensive hostile environment training.

In addition to physical attacks, journalists increasingly face hostile digital environments, often enduring intimidation, “doxing” – or the exposing of their private personal information, threats of physical and sexual harm and abuse online. These dangers disproportionately fall on women journalists and journalists of color. AP journalists are trained in digital security and about ways to report on and address all forms of abuse, and AP’s global security team has stepped in whenever necessary.

There always will be risks to covering news, and it is important for the public, politicians, public figures and governments to consider that any attacks on journalists are a threat to the free flow of accurate information that is needed for democracy to function.

We believe there are further legal steps that can be taken to protect journalists worldwide and defend against impunity by those who would threaten journalists. Under existing international law — the Geneva Conventions and additional protocols since then — journalists are considered civilians in conflicts between states.

In 2013, the United Nations adopted a resolution condemning attacks on journalists and underlining the obligations of nations to bring perpetrators to justice. But as the nature of both war and media have changed dramatically in recent years, these protocols no longer address the increasingly perilous challenges facing journalists. With each country responsible for investigating and prosecuting those who kill journalists, it is a patchwork system at best. Only 10 percent of journalists’ killers are ever brought to justice, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In 2016, in response to objections filed by AP and other news organizations, the Pentagon revised its Law of War guidelines to remove wording that could permit U.S. military commanders to treat war correspondents as “unprivileged belligerents” if they think the journalists are sympathizing or cooperating with enemy forces. The amended manual also dropped wording that equated journalism with spying. These revisions intended to clearly identify journalists as civilians and protect journalists under the law of war.

While steps have been taken toward improving journalist safety, AP believes there needs to be a new international legal mechanism for protecting journalists — one that makes killing journalists or taking them hostage a war crime. 

The growing challenges to journalists’ ability to gather news should be a worldwide cause for concern. When independent media cannot provide firsthand original reporting, freedom suffers. A free press is the most powerful bulwark between tyranny and democracy, holding governments accountable and providing trustworthy eyewitness news that lets people make informed and responsible choices.

We are committed to providing comprehensive, original, authoritative news from around the world.

Our reporters are at the scene whenever major stories are breaking—sometimes at great risk to themselves.

Our audience also counts on them to cover news at the local level. For example, we have a reporter in every statehouse in the U.S.

This level of journalism is expensive. AP, which is a not-for-profit cooperative, invests hundreds of millions of dollars every year in newsgathering and distribution. Revenue from licensing this content, across formats (including digital), is our main source of funding.

When a user licenses content from AP, it obtains permission to use that content in a specific way. Thousands of organizations across the world license AP content for legitimate use in their businesses, understanding the value inherent in this content and the investment that went into its production.

When our content is used without authorization, it undermines our ability to support our news operations.

Like any other content creator, we must protect our intellectual property rights against unauthorized exploitation. Protecting our journalists’ work from misuse and illegal use is of primary importance to the organization, and we are working to develop new ways to safeguard our rights.

Copyright infringement

In a victory for AP, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in AP’s favor in a copyright infringement suit against Meltwater News. The British Supreme Court has decided partially in favor of news-clipping service Meltwater in its long-running dispute with UK newspaper publishers. Read more about the case here.

Protecting original newsgathering

Since its founding in 1846, The Associated Press has been at the forefront of the news industry on issues like freedom of the press, the public’s right to know, intellectual property rights and journalistic ethics and practices.

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Report the unlawful use of AP content or file a copyright infringement notification with AP regarding the content contained on this site. We want to hear from you.

It’s a core component of journalism in a democracy: making sure the public gets the information that it has a right to know.

We are committed to this principle and are a leading and aggressive advocate of the importance of transparency and accountability in government.

In the U.S., we have taken definitive steps to address the growing number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) denials. Beginning in 2009, we increased our internal FOIA training and strengthened our overall approach to filing appeals, responding to denials and negotiating with government agencies. AP takes on investigative projects that are heavily reliant on FOIA and state open records requests and works with reporters internationally on cases that deploy both U.S. and foreign-based laws.

AP’s use of the Freedom of Information Act has led to the release of critical information that the government would have preferred to keep secret.

In 2016, in response to a lawsuit by AP and several other news organizations, the FBI released the full transcript of the 911 call made by the Orlando nightclub shooter. Also in 2016, our document dig revealed decades of neglect by local, state and federal agencies in East Chicago, Indiana, which allowed residents of the town to be exposed to lead. In 2015, we obtained stunning emails that showed Coca-Cola Co. was a guiding force behind a nonprofit group founded to fight obesity.

Along with our in-house counsel, our reporters and editors take three key actions around Freedom of Information:

  1. Assert relevant rights under federal and state constitutions and Freedom of Information laws to obtain access to news—going to court, if necessary, to enforce those rights.
  2. Monitor compliance by government agencies and officials with FOI laws and report infractions and shortcomings.
  3. Defend the statutory and constitutional rights of journalists to do their work free of government interference or intrusion.

In addition, AP stepped up training for outside groups, advocated for the strengthening of FOIA and engaged the services of the new Office of Government Information Services for the resolution of certain appeals that were denied by agencies.

AP’s FOIA work in 2009 and 2010 has been honored with the Eugene Pulliam First Amendment Award, which recognizes a person or organization that has fought to protect and preserve one or more of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.

About us

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. More than half the world’s population sees AP journalism every day.

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