CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Robert Mahoney

Robert Mahoney is CPJ’s deputy director. He writes and speaks on press freedom, and has led CPJ missions to global hot spots from Iraq to Sri Lanka. He worked as a reporter, bureau chief and editor for Reuters around the world. Follow him on Twitter @RobertMMahoney.

Blog   |   Security, Syria

A year after James Foley and Steven Sotloff murders, more awareness of risks

A photograph of James Foley is seen during a memorial service in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan on August 24, 2014. (AP/Marko Drobnjakovic)

Journalists who regularly cover violence are considered a hard-boiled bunch. But a year ago this month, even the toughest were crying. There was no emotional body armor to deflect the horror of the beheading videos of freelancers James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and other Westerners held hostage in Syria by the self-styled Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL, or IS.

Blog   |   CPJ, Internet, Security

Securing the newsroom: CPJ, journalists, and technologists commit

Jacob Weisberg, chairman of The Slate Group and a member of CPJ's board, left, speaks with BuzzFeed's Miriam Elder, center, and Global Voices' Sahar Habib Ghazi, right, about securing the newsroom. (CPJ/Geoffrey King)

It's second nature now for reporters rushing to a dangerous assignment to grab a helmet and vest. Physical security whether covering conflict or quakes is readily understood, if not always adequately implemented.

June 25, 2015 6:06 PM ET


Blog   |   Security, Syria

Syria anniversary shows need for more news outlets to step up

People walk on rubble after what activists said were airstrikes and shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, February 9, 2015. (Reuters/Mohammed Badra)

It started as a street protest against President Bashar al-Assad. Ordinary citizens took out their smart phones to record the demonstrations that quickly spread. Four years and 220,000 dead later, the Syrian civil war is still raging, although the numbers of 'citizen' and professional journalists on hand to document it is woefully small.

Blog   |   Security

A first step toward better safety for freelancers

Tanya Bindra, left, and Joey Daoud administer care to a training dummy during a battlefield medical response training workshop for freelance journalists provided by Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC) in New York. (AP/RISC, James Lawler Duggan)

The murders of freelancers James Foley and Steven Sotloff last year put the news industry on the spot. What could news executives, press freedom groups, and individual journalists do to improve safety? The issue was not new. International news organizations had been grappling with their responsibility towards freelancers and locally hired media workers for years. Several had begun treating freelancers as they would their own staffers when it came to safety. Freelancers too had joined together under the Frontline Freelance Register to demonstrate that they were professionals and should be treated and compensated as such.

Blog   |   Hungary

Mission Journal: Creeping authoritarianism in Hungary

People protesting in Budapest about a new Internet tax on data use hold up their smartphones. (Reuters/Laszlo Balogh)

On the Buda side of the River Danube stands the glass and steel headquarters of the thriving German-owned entertainment channel RTL. On the Pest side of the Hungarian capital, tucked in a corner of a converted department store, lies the cramped office of struggling online news outlet Atlatszo.

October 30, 2014 12:14 PM ET


Blog   |   Syria

Journalist beheadings in Syria reignite debate over risk and safety for freelancers

Now that the initial wave of revulsion at the beheading of two young journalists has passed, the international media is wringing its hands and asking how it can spare others the heartbreak of the families of U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

September 16, 2014 11:03 AM ET

Blog   |   Libya, Syria

James Foley - a journalist's journalist

James Foley in 2011. (AP/Steven Senne)

Amid the tributes and war stories that followed the brutal beheading of James Foley this week, one memory from a fellow hostage shone a light on a side of his character that his audience might not have seen: his empathy not only for the people he covered but also for the journalists he encountered.

Blog   |   Internet, UK

Rushed data legislation would give UK worrying surveillance powers

The British government's attempt to rush through a bill on data retention before the House of Commons summer recess next week has run into opposition--not from members across the aisle but from Internet companies, civil liberty defenders, and lawyers, who say the law would extend the authorities' already vast snooping capabilities.

Blog   |   Iraq

Mission Journal: The Kurdish conundrum--more outlets but not more 'news'

In the stairwell between the newsroom and studios of Nalia Radio and Television (NRT) stand a charred monitor, a burnt vision mixer, and smashed camera lens. They make up a display of equipment damaged when armed men set fire to the station in Sulaymaniyah, a city in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan which is home to much of the Kurdish media.

Blog   |   CPJ, Iraq

Coming to Kurdistan

One of the strongest memories I have of meeting President Masoud Barzani is the winding drive up to his mountain-top headquarters in the town of Salahuddin outside Erbil. That was in 2008, when a CPJ delegation secured a pledge from the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to "create an atmosphere that is conducive to journalism."

Social Media

View all »