Project Censored Newsletter December 2023

by Kate Horgan
Published: Last Updated on

State of the Free Press 2024 in the News

State of the Free Press 2024, the 31st edition of the Project’s award-winning yearbook series, officially released on December 5, 2023. You can ask for it at your favorite local bookstore or order a copy directly from Project Censored.

The Teaching Guide, authored by Shealeigh VoitlMischa Geracoulis, and Andy Lee Roth, is available at no charge from the Project website. Designed by Shealeigh Voitl, the Guide includes topics for discussion and exploration activities on different types of censorship, Junk Food News, and book bans, among others.

On November 16, 2023, Andy Lee Roth, coeditor of the yearbook, appeared on Corporations and Democracy, hosted by Annie Esposito and Steve Scalmanini and broadcast by KZYX, community radio for Mendocino County. They discussed the legacy of Daniel Ellsberg, establishment media bias in coverage of Israeli violence in Gaza, and how to avoid the pitfalls of  news “deserts” and news “snacking.”

The New England chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hosted Andy Lee Roth for a webinar on State of the Free Press 2024, on December 4th. The SPJ’s Loretta McGraw and Roth discussed the Project’s early history, its 21st-century definition of censorship, and the story selection process. The event is archived on the New England SPJ chapter’s YouTube channel. Special thanks to Adam Sennott and Saraya Wintersmith of SPJ-New England for making this event possible.

Sonali Kolhatkar of YES! Presents Rising Up With Sonali hosted Andy Lee Roth on December 5th. They discussed several of the year’s top stories, as featured in State of the Free Press 2024, including union victories led by workers of color, wrongful convictions rooted in systemic racism, and the relocation of tribal communities due to climate change. Find the interview archived here.

Mnar Adley, editor-in-chief of MintPress News, hosted an online panel discussion on December 14th with Mickey HuffColeen Rowley, and Alan MacLeod (who wrote the foreword for State of the Free Press 2024). They discussed “Gaza Genocide Day 69 & Western Media Complicity,” which included conversations about media censorship, atrocity propaganda, and the importance of independent journalists who risk their lives cutting through the fog of war.

New Validated Independent News Stories Posted

Being an Undocumented Teacher in America Comes With Undocumented Struggles

Photo by Wavebreakmedia via Canva.

The latest Validated Independent News stories focus on education, including independent news reporting on school hospital programs that bridge education and student recovery, schools in Idaho struggling to secure resources necessary to provide safe, nurturing learning environments, and the challenges undocumented teachers face—stories identified and vetted by students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst working with Allison Butler.

Validated Independent News stories report information and perspective that the public has a right and need to know, but to which it has limited access.

The Censored Press Happenings

Along with graphic memoirists Ajuan Mance (Gender Studies: The Confessions of an Accidental Outlaw), Tyler Cohen (Primazonia), Leah Yael Levy (Israel 2023—WTF?!), and comics maker/educator Nick Sousanis (Unflattening), Adam Bessie and Peter Glanting, author and illustrator of Going Remote: A Teacher’s Journey, were part of the Comic Reading Extravaganza at Silver Sprocket comic shop in San Francisco, December 2, 2023.

Nolan Higdon’s article, Seeing Isn’t Believing: From Gaza to US Politics, Deepfake Videos Are Peddling Fake News, was published by USA Today on November 27, 2023. Higdon is the author of The Anatomy of Fake News, and coauthor of United States of DistractionLet’s Agree to Disagree, and The Media and Me.

Four of the authors of The Media and MeAllison ButlerNolan HigdonMickey Huff, and Andy Lee Roth, along with Micah Card, who authored the book’s accompanying resource guide —participated in a panel on critical media literacy at the UNESCO DCMÉT Symposium on Peace, Culture, and Social Justice, which took place at the University of Quebec and online, October 25-27, 2023. A video recording of their session, titled “Teaching Critical Media Literacy as a Liberatory Project,” is now available on the UNESCO DCMÉT YouTube channel. This panel focused on critical media literacy as one direct way to promote students’ civic engagement and social justice commitments, thus contributing indirectly to the creation of a more equitable, peaceful world.

Andy Lee Roth and Mickey Huff, editors of State of the Free Press 2024, published How Corporate Media Helped Lay the Groundwork for Israel’s Genocide in Gaza in Truthout on December 2, 2023.

Roth also authored “Countering War Propaganda with Critical Media Literacy,” which appears in the Fall 2023 issue of Justice Rising, the flagship publication of the Alliance for Democracy.

In The Attack against the Freedom to Read and What to Do about ItSteve Macek provides a concise overview of the dramatic wave of book bans in public and K-12 school libraries. His article focuses in particular on legislation in Florida, which he describes as “a gulag for young minds,” and censorship campaigns by Moms for Liberty—as well as resistance to these bans by libraries and librarians, educators and teachers unions, and, most of all, students themselves. “Students are taking the lead in organizing against restrictions,” Macek reports.

Andy Lee Roth and Mickey Huff authored Navigating the News Void: From News Deserts to Revitalization, which draws from their introduction to State of the Free Press 2024. They call for a new generation of muckraking journalism, which received keen public attention one hundred years ago, as one way to renew popular interest in journalism today.

Find the complete archives of Project Censored’s Dispatches on Media and Politics series here.

The Project Censored Show

The Stranglehold of Silence Suppression of Free Speech in the IsraelPalestine Conflict

Photo from Canva by South Agency

November 30: The Stranglehold of Silence: Suppression of Free Speech in the Israel/Palestine Conflict, with James Bamford, interviewed by Eleanor Goldfield; and Peter Byrne, interviewed by Mickey Huff.

December 11: Media Censorship and Attacks on Press Freedoms: Genocide in Gaza, Julian Assange, with Abby Martin and Kevin Gosztola, interviewed by Mickey Huff.

A Look at the Jewish National Fund and Radioactive FrackingDecember 13: Exposing the Jewish National Fund and Radioactive Fracking, with Abdullah Elagha and Justin Nobel, interviewed by Eleanor Goldfield.

Follow the links for each episode to learn more about the Show’s featured guests and content. Find the comprehensive archive of Project Censored Show episodes here.


Support from monthly subscribers and generous donors helps sustain all of the Project’s programs, from hands-on training in critical media literacy through our student internship program, to publication of the annual Censored yearbook, and weekly production of the Project Censored Show. We thank you for your support.