CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views


Blog   |   Internet, Security, USA

Save Crypto: CPJ joins call for Obama to back strong encryption

The Committee to Protect Journalists has signed a petition organized by digital rights groups Access and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, urging President Barack Obama to publicly commit the U.S. to a policy of supporting strong encryption. Since the Save Crypto petition's launch on September 29, it has gathered nearly 18,000 signatures, including about 30 from press freedom and digital rights groups.

October 2, 2015 5:12 PM ET


Blog   |   Internet, Security, USA

Has White House finally got the message about strong encryption? Welcome shift seen in speeches and policy memo

The west wing of the White House in July. The Obama administration is debating whether to support stronger encryption. (Geoffrey King/CPJ)

Yesterday, during a panel on encryption policy hosted by Just Security, an online forum covering national security law and policy, top U.S. intelligence lawyer Robert S. Litt pressed the case for engineering backdoors in encryption without undermining computer security as a whole. As CPJ has documented, leading security and policy experts consider this impossible.

Blog   |   Syria, USA

Audio: James Foley on being a freelance war correspondent

In April 2012, Nicole Schilit, research associate in CPJ's Journalist Assistance program, interviewed James Foley about his experience working as a freelance journalist in conflict zones. The interview took place in New York between reporting trips to Libya and Syria. Foley was murdered in Syria in August 2014.

August 18, 2015 10:40 AM ET


Blog   |   Security, USA

In times of war, Pentagon reserves right to treat journalists like spies

A press briefing at the Pentagon in April. Worrying guidelines on how the military can categorize the press during conflict are contained in the Defense Department's Law of War Manual. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

The Pentagon has produced its first Department of Defense-wide Law of War Manual and the results are not encouraging for journalists who, the documents state, may be treated as "unprivileged belligerents." But the manual's justification for categorizing journalists this way is not based on any specific case, law or treaty. Instead, the relevant passages have footnotes referring to either other parts of the document or matters not germane to this legal assertion. And the language used to attempt to justify this categorization is weak at best.

Blog   |   Indonesia, Internet, Security, USA

Increased risks for filmmakers and sources in documentaries' Golden Age

A scene from Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary 'The Look of Silence.' (Courtesy of Drafthouse Films and Participant Media)

Joshua Oppenheimer travelled to New York for today's premiere of his documentary "The Look of Silence," but one place he won't travel is Indonesia, where he says his work on this and an earlier film puts him at risk. Earlier this week, Laura Poitras, the Academy Award-winning director of the documentary CITIZENFOUR, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government seeking information related to border interrogations to which she was subjected between 2006 and 2012. These two cases represent the increased and varied risks facing filmmakers and their sources in what many critics have dubbed the Golden Age of documentary film.

July 17, 2015 1:27 PM ET

Blog   |   Internet, Security, USA

CPJ joins call urging White House to protect encryption for journalists

A wheel cipher invented by Thomas Jefferson and used to securely encode messages in the late 1700s. CPJ is calling on President Obama to ensure modern versions of encryption remain protected. (Jefferson Cipher Wheel by ideonexus is licensed under CC BY 3.0 US)

Journalists are safest when their devices are secure by default. That is why the Committee to Protect Journalists today joined a coalition of nearly 150 civil society organizations, companies, trade associations, security experts, and policy specialists in sending a joint letter to U.S. President Barack Obama. The letter urges the president to support the broad adoption of strong encryption and to reject any proposal that intentionally weakens the security of products made by U.S. companies.

May 19, 2015 12:31 PM ET


Blog   |   Internet, Security, USA

CPJ joins call for meaningful reform of US surveillance

Mass surveillance and the bulk collection of metadata by the U.S. government pose serious threats to journalists in the U.S. and around the world, which is why the Committee to Protect Journalists today joined a wide coalition of privacy, human rights, technology, and trade groups calling on Congress and the Obama Administration to include certain elements in U.S. surveillance reform.

Blog   |   Security, USA

US 'no-negotiation' hostage policy should be changed

Thirty years ago, when I was snatched off the street in Beirut by radical Shiites calling themselves "Islamic Jihad," the world took my plight and that of other Westerners kidnapped in Lebanon's long war to heart. During the nearly seven years I was held, countless demonstrations were staged on our behalf by churches, journalists, hometowns in America, France, Britain, Ireland and many other countries. Miles of yellow ribbon were tied to oak trees, and newspaper editorials ceaselessly demanded our release. When I finally emerged from the Lebanese gulag, the longest-held Western hostage, there were dozens of boxes of letters waiting for me, from school children and ordinary people across America, along with grand welcome home parties in New York and Washington.

March 13, 2015 11:01 AM ET


Blog   |   Internet, USA

In fight against extremism, press freedom must not be compromised

President Obama speaks at the summit to counter violent extremism in Washington, D.C. on February 19. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

In an effort to counter extremists and militant groups who use a mix of violence and social media to spread their message, a summit was held in Washington, D.C. this week to discuss how to counter violent extremism. While there is little denying that these groups must be tackled, an approach must be found that will not justify restricting the press.

Blog   |   Iraq, Security, USA

Video: Bob Simon recounts 1991 capture in Iraq

When I heard the news last week that Bob Simon had died, I immediately thought back to an interview I had done with him in 2010. It was at an event called the "Courage Forum.," an ideas festival which took place the Museum of Modern Art hosted in New York City. It featured speakers who had demonstrated courage in various walks of life, among them tight rope artist Philippe Petit.

February 20, 2015 1:10 PM ET


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