Washington: American whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked to the world the secretive Internet and telephone programmes of the US is joining the Board of Directors of the prestigious Freedom of the Press Foundation.
"The unconstitutional gathering of the communications records of everyone in America threatens our most basic rights, and the public should have a say in whether or not that continues," Snowden said in a statement issued through the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which was co-founded by Daniel Ellsberg in 2012.
Snowden said it is "tremendously humbling" to be called to serve the cause of our free press, and it is the honour of a lifetime to do so alongside extraordinary Americans like Daniel Ellsberg on FPF's Board of Directors.
"He is the quintessential American whistleblower, and a personal hero of mine," said FPF's co-founder Daniel Ellsberg.
"Leaks are the lifeblood of the republic and, for the first time, the American public has been given the chance to debate democratically the NSA's mass surveillance programmes. Accountability journalism can't be done without the courageous acts exemplified by Snowden, and we need more like him," he said.
Its founding board members include Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, John Cusack, Xeni Jardin, and John Perry Barlow.
The NSA revelations Snowden brought to light represent one of our generation's greatest threats to press freedom.
Snowden is joining the board to be part of solution, to help protect today's journalists and inspire tomorrow's watchdogs, the Foundation said in a statement.
According to the foundation, Snowden brings a deep knowledge about how journalists and sources can communicate securely in the age of mass surveillance.
Protecting digital communications is turning into the press freedom battle of the 21st century, it said.
"Journalism isn't possible unless reporters and their sources can safely communicate," said Snowden, "and where laws can't protect that, technology can.
"This is a hard problem, but not an unsolvable one, and I look forward to using my experience to help find a solution." he said.