CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, December 2010

From Africa to the Americas, more journalists are imprisoned today than at any time since 1996. (AFP)

2010: Setting records and strengthening protection of the press

As the Committee to Protect Journalists nears its 30th anniversary in 2011, the organization has made strides in expanding its reach, solidifying concrete assistance to journalists in emergency situations, confronting impunity and advocating for justice around the world so that journalists can report the news without reprisal. In this issue we bring you the highlights of our work in 2010.
December 22, 2010 4:32 PM ET



CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, November 2010

Dawit Kebede, Nadira Isayeva and Laureano Márquez (Getty/Michael Nagle)

CPJ honors journalists on the frontlines of press freedom

Journalists at the forefront of the battle for press freedom in Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela were honored at the Committee to Protect Journalists' 20th Annual International Press Freedom Awards benefit dinner, held on November 23. The awards dinner was chaired by Sir Howard Stringer, chairman, CEO, and president of Sony Corporation, and hosted by Tom Brokaw, special correspondent for NBC News and CPJ advisory board member. The event raised a record of nearly $1.5 million for CPJ's work helping journalists who are targeted for their reporting.

Celebrating at New York's Waldorf-Astoria, about 900 guests paid tribute to the courage shown by Dawit Kebede (Awramba Times, Ethiopia), Nadira Isayeva (Chernovik, Russia), and Laureano Márquez (Tal Cual, Venezuela) in defying repression to report the news and keep citizens informed.

November 30, 2010 3:38 PM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, October 2010

Clockwise from top left, Márquez, Kebede, Davari, and Isayeva.

CPJ announces 2010 press freedom awards

Media repression in Iran, Ethiopia, Russia and Venezuela will be under the spotlight next month when CPJ presents the 2010 International Press Freedom Awards in New York City. CPJ announced the winners this month:Dawit Kebede of Ethiopia, Nadira Isayeva of Russia, Laureano Márquez of Venezuela and Mohammad Davari of Iran. All have put their personal freedom and security on the line to report the news. CPJ's Burton Benjamin Memorial Award will go to Aryeh Neier, president of the Open Society Institute, to mark his long career in defense of press freedom and human rights. 

October 17, 2010 12:38 PM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, September 2010

CPJ had urged King Abdullah II to reconsider online restrictions. (Reuters/Ali Jarekji)

With a push from CPJ, Jordan moves away from repressive cyber law 

Embracing a global trend, the Kingdom of Jordan, a relative bastion of press freedom in the Middle East, sought to enact a restrictive cyber crime law that would have criminalized "sending or posting data or information via the Internet or any information system that involves defamation or contempt or slander." 

CPJ wrote to King Abdullah on August 17 expressing concern about the vague nature of the law, which includes provisions that would have permitted warrantless searches of offices that host websites. "We fail to see the urgency with which this law is being enacted," CPJ wrote in the letter. "According to Article 94 of Jordan's constitution, the government has the right to issue provisional laws on urgent matters in the absence of a parliament. Since the Jordanian parliament was dissolved in 2009 following widespread criticism of ineffectiveness and corruption, the next parliamentary elections are scheduled for November." 

September 21, 2010 12:18 AM ET

Impact   |   CPJ

CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, August 2010

President Porfirio Lobo during a televised press conference in January. (AP/Esteban Felix)

Honduras report citing official failures draws a response

In a few short months, seven journalists were gunned down in Honduras. While the country has been beset by crime and political turmoil, it had not been known as a particularly dangerous place for the press. Is someone targeting the media?

CPJ dispatched consultant Mike O'Connor to Honduras to find out. His detailed report chronicling all seven murders paints a complex picture in which journalists covering crime and corruption are also tainted by it. While there is no evidence of a government conspiracy in the killings, there are plenty of indications of official indifference and incompetence in carrying out investigations. The failures, CPJ found, may be fueling additional violence.

August 19, 2010 3:17 PM ET

Impact   |   CPJ

CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, July 2010

Newly freed political prisoners at a press conference in Madrid. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)

Cuba begins releasing journalists

For weeks, CPJ staff had been getting hints that Cuba, under a deal brokered by the Catholic Church and Spanish government, would release imprisoned journalists and political dissidents. Some families had been told to buy suits for their jailed loved ones, a sure sign that something was up. After years of painstaking reporting, contact-building and campaigning on Cuba, we were in a great position to move quickly when at last on July 13 the Cuban authorities put six journalists on a plane for Madrid. CPJ Europe Consultant Borja Bergareche was there to welcome the new exiles, the first in what is expected to be a series of releases by the Castro regime. Three more journalists have since been freed. Prior to the releases, CPJ research had identified 21 journalists in Cuban prisons for their independent reporting and commentary. All but one of the journalists had been detained in March 2003, in the massive government crackdown on political dissent and independent journalism that came to be known as the Black Spring.


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, June 2010

UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova (Reuters)

UNESCO responds to protests

UNESCO's plan to bestow the Obiang International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, named for and financed by the most repressive leader of Equatorial Guinea, was met with an outcry from the human rights community. When UNESCO announced they would be bestowing the prize, press freedom organizations - including CPJ - UNESCO/Cano World Press Freedom Prize laureates, and South Africa's Bishop Desmond Tutu protested. The message got through to Irina Bokova, UNESCO's director-general: the very credibility of UNESCO was at stake.

June 16, 2010 10:57 AM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, May 2010

Brazilian students surf the Web at a "Campus Party" in São Paulo. (Reuters/Paulo Whitaker)

Two Victories for Press Freedom Online

Danny O’Brien, CPJ’s new Internet Advocacy Coordinator, joined us with a brief to defend online journalists and the Internet itself as a medium for global press freedom. In his first month, he helped reform a weak law in Brazil and get a persecuted Ethiopian media outlet back online. On April 21, Google published international statistics on government demands for content removal and access to private user data. The figures contained some surprises, including the high ranking of Brazil as a censor of online content and unmasker of anonymous Internet sources. O’Brien’s analysis of Brazil’s position led to a frank discussion on the CPJ Blog between CPJ and officials at the Brazilian Ministry of Justice. Within days, a new draft law criticized in the blog entry had been redrafted by the ministry to create better protections for Brazilian online journalists. You can read our analysis, and the ministry’s responses, on our blog

May 19, 2010 4:45 PM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, April 2010

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei. (AP)
More than 3,500 petition Iran to free journalists, writers

As the leading sponsor of “Our Society Will Be a Free Society,” a joint campaign with 15 other human rights organizations seeking the release of dozens of jailed journalists in Iran, CPJ helped gather more than 3,500 signatures on a petition to Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei. The campaign name stems from the 1978 pledge of Khamenei’s predecessor, Sayyed Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini, who said on the eve of the revolution: “Our future society will be a free society, and all the elements of oppression, cruelty, and force will be destroyed.”

April 18, 2010 11:14 AM ET
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