10 Years of Helping

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Blog   |   Haiti

Left for dead in Haiti: How CPJ helped one journalist

Pierre Elisem was shot by Aristide supporters in Port-au-Prince in February 2004. (AP/Walter Astrada)

Ten years ago I joined the staff of the Committee to Protect Journalists to launch the Journalist Assistance program, an initiative, as CPJ board member Gene Roberts describes, developed to establish a standing direct response mechanism for journalists facing threats and attacks. When I left the position in 2009, many people asked me what case stood out the most. 

August 19, 2011 2:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

Evacuating Somali reporters who face unrelenting violence

Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe was killed in 2009. (NUSOJ)

Somalia was among the world's deadliest countries for journalists in 2009, the year I began working with CPJ's Journalist Assistance program. On June 7, two gunmen shot Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe and Ahmed Omar Hashi, the director and news editor of the country's leading independent station, Radio Shabelle. Hirabe died at the scene. Hashi barely survived and was hospitalized with wounds to the abdomen and right hand.

Blog   |   Canada

A global partnership to assist journalists in distress

One of the most rewarding parts of my job at Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) for the last eight years has been my work on our Journalists in Distress program. Through this program I have had quick glimpses into the lives of hundreds of courageous journalists from countries all over the world. Most of these journalists I will never meet, as I do this work sitting at my desk in Toronto, trying to get details about where they have come from, what danger they face, and what help they need. 

August 15, 2011 3:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Assisting journalists in Cuba: Hurdles in prison and beyond

CPJ's Journalist Assistance program helped support the families of Cuban journalists held in jails like this one on the outskirts of Havana. (Reuters/Claudia Daut)

In mid-2006, CPJ's Journalist Assistance program began sending regular remittances to the families of independent Cuban journalists in prison. By CPJ's count, of the 29 journalists jailed during a massive crackdown in 2003, 24 were still in prison at the time--making Cuba the world's second-worst jailer of journalists in the world. The remittances, sent monthly, helped families cover travel expenses to the prisons--sometimes two days away on shabby buses--and basic maintenance for the jailed editors and reporters--ranging from food staples like rice and beans, to clothes, bowls and spoons, to aspirin and specialized medications, all unavailable behind bars. At the time, I was the Research Associate for the Americas program, and my job was to contact families and catalog urgency and needs.

Blog   |   CPJ

How CPJ began helping journalists with more than letters

By the late '90s, the Committee to Protect Journalists was solving many of its financial problems and building a strong list of dependable contributors. It became possible to consider expanding our activities. Up to this point we were fighting for a free press around the globe mainly by focusing attention on governments that were imprisoning or killing journalists. We wrote letters to hostile governments. We sent board and staff members abroad several times a year to pressure officials into releasing jailed journalists. We published our annual book, Attacks on the Press, and announced our yearly lists of enemies of the press. All of this was vitally important, of course. We were helping to free and protect journalists by generating publicity about their cases.

August 8, 2011 4:42 PM ET

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