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InterAmerican University legal aid clinic gets $270K grant to expand services

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The Access to Information Clinic of the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico Law School has received a $270,000, three-year grant to expand its services to promote and defend the constitutional principles of freedom of press and expression, including access to public information, particularly for journalists and the media. 

“We’re proud to announce that we were included in this round of grants from the Legal Clinic Fund that supports a network of clinics in five prestigious universities in the United States,” said Manuel J. Fernós, president of the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico, along with to Dr. Julio Fontanet-Maldonado, dean of the InterAmerican University Law School, in conjunction with the director of the Legal Assistance Clinic, Rafael E. Rodríguez-Rivera.

Other clinics selected were Yale University, University of Virginia Law School, Yeshiva University School of Indie Law, and the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic Center, Case Western Reserve University Law School.

The Access to Information Clinic has successfully represented the Center for Investigative Journalism in more than 20 cases on access to information filed in Puerto Rico courts during the past decade. In this new stage, this representation may be extended to other journalists, organizations and individuals.

“The grant will help represent journalists, independent media, regional newspapers, individuals, and nongovernmental organizations seeking government information that will impact public policy discussions on different issues in Puerto Rico,” said Rodríguez-Rivera.

The Legal Clinic Fund was launched in 2019 to support a small, but powerful network of specialized legal clinics in First Amendment cases to the U.S. Constitution with the goal of promoting and defending media freedom and transparency in communities and at the U.S. level.

The Fund sees these local legal clinics as a critical backbone of new support for local journalists and media creators to investigate injustice and have the power to tell the stories that citizens need to know.

This is especially important at a time when the journalism industry faces profound challenges and changes that are limiting its ability to speak out against these injustices.

“We’re encouraged by the creativity and success of the Legal Clinic Fund grantees thus far, and we encourage other funders and donors who care about the future of the First Amendment to explore how they can support legal clinics in their region,” said Fontanet.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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