CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Joel Simon

Joel Simon is the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. He has written widely on media issues, contributing to Slate, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Review of Books, World Policy Journal, Asahi Shimbun, and The Times of India. He has led numerous international missions to advance press freedom. His book, The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom, is scheduled for release in fall 2014. Follow him on Twitter @Joelcpj. His public GPG encryption key can be found here.

2011


Blog

Responding to Turkey's appalling press freedom record

Hundreds of Turkish journalists march to protest detentions and demand reforms to media laws in Ankara on March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would like to take credit for Turkey's economic growth and increasing regional influence, but when challenged on his country's abysmal  press freedom record he tends to blame others, including the media itself which, he says, exaggerates the problem.

But the facts speak for themselves, as I noted in a letter CPJ sent yesterday to the prime minister. In it, we condemned the recent raids that have rounded up at least 29 journalists and we criticized the government for the politicized legal process that has led to the imprisonment of dozens of other journalists across the country.

December 23, 2011 10:36 AM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico, Pakistan, Russia

Journalists killed: Inside the numbers

CPJ today released its annual tally of the journalists killed around the world. This is always a somber occasion for us as we chronicle the grim toll, remember friends who have been lost, and recommit ourselves to justice. It's also a time when we are asked questions about our research and why our numbers are different - invariably lower - than other organizations.

December 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Libya

VanDyke's deception increases risks for journalists

Matthew VanDyke returned home last week from Libya, arriving at the Baltimore airport still dressed in combat fatigues. "I went there to support the revolution," VanDyke declared. "My family did not know that when I left. You don't tell your mother you're going off to fight a war."

What troubles us is that VanDyke told his mother that he was going to Libya to be a journalist. So when he was captured on March 13 near Brega, that's what she told us.

November 18, 2011 11:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ

Joining the global call for justice

On November 23, 2009, Esmael Mangudadatu decided to register his candidacy for governor of Maguindanao, in the southern Philippines. Because his rivals from the Ampuatan clan had pledged to block him from filing the papers, he dispatched his female relatives, believing that they would not be harmed. He also thought it would increase security to invite journalists along, and several press cars joined the caravan.

November 9, 2011 11:03 AM ET

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Blog   |   Equatorial Guinea

Obiang prize goes down to the wire

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is a stubborn man.  In 2008, the president of Equatorial Guinea made a $3 million donation to UNESCO to underwrite a prize in the life sciences. But a groundswell of opposition from human rights groups, press freedom organizations, and governments appalled by Obiang's record of kleptocracy and human rights abuses helped raise a global ruckus. Public pressure eventually forced UNESCO's executive board to reach a face saving agreement to suspend the prize while promising "to continue the consultations among all parties."

October 3, 2011 10:03 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

President Correa is not a criminal (but he is intolerant)

In a truly bizarre exchange that took place at Columbia University Friday, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa responded to a question from CPJ's Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría by calling him a liar.

September 27, 2011 1:20 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

In Ethiopia case, a response to WikiLeaks

Last week, we learned that Ethiopian journalist Argaw Ashine was facing possible arrest and needed to flee the country. During a 10-day period in September, he had been summoned three times by Ethiopian authorities and questioned about a reference to him in a cable sent by the U.S. Embassy in October 2009 and made public by WikiLeaks last month.
September 19, 2011 1:05 PM ET

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Blog   |   Libya

NATO responds to CPJ, but questions remain unanswered

On August 4, CPJ wrote to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen requesting information about the July 30 attacks on broadcast facilities in Libya in which NATO aircraft destroyed three broadcast dishes. As we noted in our letter, CPJ is concerned any time a media outlet faces a military attack. Such attacks can only be justified under international humanitarian law if the facility is being used for military purposes or to incite violence against the civilian population.

September 13, 2011 1:42 PM ET

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Blog   |   Libya

Request to NATO for clarification on Libya TV attack

Qaddafi on state TV in February. (AP)

On July 30, NATO warplanes attacked three transmission towers in Libya. The goal apparently was to knock Libyan state television off the air because, NATO alleged, "it was being used as an integral component of the regime apparatus designed to systematically oppress and threaten civilians and to incite attacks against them." 

August 4, 2011 5:51 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Mission Journal: CPJ tackles impunity in Pakistan

After months of planning and preparation, our CPJ team had assembled in Islamabad with an ambitious plan. On May 3, we had a meeting scheduled with President Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the country's failure to investigate the killings of journalists. We also had positive indications that our delegation would be able to meet with military officials and possibly even representatives from the Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, the country's all-powerful spy agency.

May 6, 2011 1:46 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

In Mexico, a chance for justice

"We have a big story coming out tomorrow," Adela Navarro Bello, the co-editor of the muckraking Tijuana weekly Zeta, said when I visited the newspaper last Thursday. "There's a breakthrough in the investigation into the murder of Ortiz Franco."

April 11, 2011 12:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, France, USA

Remembering Bernard Estrade, a friend and AFP legend

Legendary Agence France-Presse correspondents Bernard Estrade died last week in Paris after a long illness. He was one of the great reporters of his era and a great friend of CPJ.

March 21, 2011 3:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Philippines, Russia

Combating impunity, from commitment to action

This afternoon we sent out a press release announcing a $100,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support CPJ's Global Campaign Against Impunity. The campaign enters its third year in 2011, having achieved some significant successes, including high-level commitment to prosecute the killers of journalist in the Philippines and Russia. Our goal in the year ahead is to turn those commitments into results.

January 26, 2011 5:40 PM ET

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