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, was published in November 2014. Follow him on Twitter @Joelcpj. His public GPG encryption key can be found here.

Blog   |   Iran

Letter to Ahmadinejad: Release the hikers

I hope Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad checked his fax machine this morning because he received an important letter urging the release of three American hikers held now for five months without charge. I joined 79 signatories from a dozen countries in signing the appeal because I am gravely concerned that the hikers are being used as political pawns in a frightening game of nuclear diplomacy.

December 2, 2009 2:30 PM ET


Blog   |   Iran

Maziar Bahari, Iran, and the impact of world pressure

APMaziar Bahari’s chilling account of his 118 days in an Iranian prison is the cover story of Newsweek this week. Bahari, a renowned journalist and documentary filmmaker, was arrested soon after the disputed June 12 elections. While in prison, he was subjected to psychological and physical abuse. His captors wanted to convince him that he was alone, that the world had forgotten about him. When Bahari, left, discerned that there was in an international campaign to win his release his spirits were bolstered.

November 23, 2009 8:45 AM ET


Blog   |   Iran, USA

A letter to the American hikers being held in Iran

The families of Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd, the three hikers detained in Iran, said today they are concerned about their children’s emotional well-being after nearly four months in prison. They asked supporters to send letters, which they will seek to deliver to them in Evin Prison in Tehran, where the three are being held.

November 16, 2009 5:00 PM ET


Blog   |   CPJ

Paul Steiger's challenge: Double your donation to CPJ

We want to thank all of you who responded to the challenge set out by our chairman, Paul Steiger, calling on individuals who care about independent media to support CPJ. His e-mail has already generated an unprecedented response, but we still have a ways to go before reaching our goal. Paul has offered a $25,000 matching gift that will effectively double new or increased contributions, up to $500.  

November 16, 2009 2:48 PM ET


Blog   |   Pakistan, USA

Playing the spy card against WSJ in Pakistan

Last Thursday, Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper published a reckless and unsubstantiated story accusing Wall Street Journal South Asia correspondent Matthew Rosenberg of being a spy. It’s an accusation that gravely endangers Rosenberg’s safety. Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson responded with a scathing letter to The Nation’s editor, Shireen Mazari, expressing his disgust at the publication of the story, which he called baseless and false. He demanded an immediate retraction. 

November 9, 2009 1:31 PM ET


Blog   |   Afghanistan

On dangerous assignments, risk becomes 'normal'

David Rohde’s gripping five-part series on his abduction in Afghanistan and Pakistan ends today with his dramatic escape from his abductors.  His series—and the reaction to it—bring into high relief the challenges that journalists face as they confront growing risk around the world.  Rohde, for example, felt the need, both in his article and in a Q and A with readers hosted on the New York Times Web site, to defend his decision to undertake a risky interview with a Taliban commander as the final piece of his research into a book on Afghanistan.

October 22, 2009 3:40 PM ET


Blog   |   CPJ, USA

It's an honor

Sen. Christopher Dodd, Joel Simon, Michael Massing

Yesterday, CPJ received the Thomas J. Dodd Prize for International Justice and Human Rights at an outdoor ceremony at the University of Connecticut. It was one of those perfect, crisp fall mornings in New England with a strong wind blowing clouds across the sun and shaking the first leaves from the maples, which have already turned red and orange. CPJ co-founder Michael Massing and I accepted the award, selected by the national advisory board of the Dodd Center. Journalist Mariane Pearl spoke at the ceremony and described how her husband, Daniel Pearl, once told her he "loved life" but was prepared to risk it for his work. She spoke inspirationally about journalists around the world who are willing who make sacrifices to tell stories that must be told. 

Blog   |   Iran, USA

Helping the Hikers

The notion that three American hikers could innocently wander across the border from Iraqi Kurdistan into Iran has elicited some understandable skepticism. But a statement from their friend who stayed behind in his hotel because he was ill helps explain how the situation unfolded. 

August 7, 2009 11:59 AM ET


Blog   |   USA

Walter Cronkite's press freedom legacy

Walter Cronkite had such a profound impact in so many ways that one might overlook an important part of his legacy--his long efforts on behalf of international press freedom and his advocacy on behalf of local journalists around the world. Cronkite was a vital participant in the launch of the Committee to Protect Journalists 28 years ago and, though his title here may have been honorary co-chairman, he was an active force throughout the years.

July 17, 2009 9:14 PM ET



Who will lead UNESCO?

Being director general of UNESCO is the definition of a plum diplomatic job. Headquartered in Paris, UNESCO's mandate is to promote cultural exchanges and scientific research, or, as its charter more grandly puts it, "peace in the minds of men." With the term of the current UNESCO head coming to an end, the diplomatic battle to choose a successor is heating up. 

June 19, 2009 10:47 AM ET


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