The National Press Photographers Association, the professional organization that regularly advocates for and defends the rights of visual journalists in and outside its ranks, has announced that it will be raising its membership dues for the first time in 11 years starting this coming January. Because, as they explain, "defending the rights and freedoms of visual journalists isn't free."

The news was announced in a blog post published earlier this week by photojournalist and NPPA President Melissa Lyttle. As more and more photojournalists are forced to work freelance, without the backing of a major media organization, the NPPA has had to adapt, writes Lyttle.

"This has made our legal advocacy work more critical than ever, as our members experience a rise in interference, harassment, and arrests along with an increase in assaults of journalists," she writes. "We also see a public increase in the distrust of the media, challenges to the First Amendment by the current administration, state, and local government, an ever-increasing number of copyright infringements, and a rash of ill-conceived anti-drone laws."

But all of this advocacy and legal work comes at a price, and so the NPPA board has voted to increase membership dues for the first time in 11 years, starting January 1st, 2018.

If you're interested in joining the NPPA or re-upping your membership, you can do so at the old rates by the end of 2017. Once January 1st rolls around those annual rates will go up to $75 for student and retired member memberships ($10 increase), $145 for a professional membership ($35 increase), $240 for a family membership (households with more than one working photojournalist), $170 for international membership with surface mail, and $245 for international membership with air mail.

NPPA membership comes with several perks, including: discounted insurance, services and products; being listed in a searchable database of photojournalists; the ability to participate in the NPPA's mentorship program; and more.

To find out more about the price increase, perks, NPPA's mission or anything else about membership, head over to the official announcement or visit the NPPA homepage.