CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, December 2012

2012: A year of reporting dangerously


Over the past several months, we documented in CPJ Impact violations of press freedom around the world and the efforts we made to combat them. This edition features highlights from 2012, when CPJ stepped in and advocated for journalists and news outlets at risk across the globe, from the armed conflict in Syria to targeted murders in Somalia.

Thank you for all you have done to support us, and please continue to join us in our important work.

December 27, 2012 6:01 PM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, November 2012

Journalists honored at IPFA

Thanks to David Boies, chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, who chaired CPJ's 2012 International Press Freedom Awards dinner on November 20, the organization raised a record-breaking $1.57 million to support persecuted journalists.

The nearly 900 distinguished guests at the event also pledged support for CPJ's Campaign Against Impunity during a special appeal that raised more than $100,000. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has generously pledged to match two-to-one $100,000 of the funds.

The event, held at New York's Waldorf-Astoria, was hosted by CPJ board member and PBS senior correspondent Gwen Ifill. The ceremony paid tribute  to the reporting of Mauri König (Gazeto do Pozo, Brazil), Mae Azango, (New Narratives and FrontPage Africa, Liberia) as well as jailed journalists Dhondup Wangchen (Filming for Tibet, imprisoned in China) and Azimjon Askarov (Ferghana News, Kyrgyzstan), who were awarded in absentia. Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, was awarded the Burton Benjamin Award for his lifetime commitment to press freedom. 

November 30, 2012 11:42 AM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, October 2012

Tackling Turkey's press freedom crisis

Turkey's use of broad anti-state charges to jail at least 61 journalists in reprisal for their work has resulted in the country being ranked the worst jailer of journalists, surpassing global press freedom violators such as China and Iran, CPJ found in a special report released this month in English and Turkish.

CPJ's findings were featured in most leading national dailies in Turkey and on the national cable networks, including the widely viewed CNN Turk. International media coverage was also widespread, with BBC and CNN International broadcasting live interviews about the report, and an especially powerful editorial published by Bloomberg View.

A delegation to Istanbul led by CPJ board Chairman Sandy Rowe met with human rights advocates, press freedom groups, and Turkish journalists who have been victims of the crackdown. A second CPJ delegation that will arrive in Turkey in early November has requested high-level government meetings. The report is also a seed for longer-term advocacy, including with the European Union and United States government.  

To reduce the number of journalists in prison in Turkey, CPJ is pushing for comprehensive reform. A number of imprisoned journalists, including Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, have already been released as a result of international pressure.

October 31, 2012 7:34 PM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, September 2012

CPJ announces 2012 IPFA winners

Four journalists who risked their lives to report the truth will be honored at CPJ's 2012 International Press Freedom Awards ceremony. The award winners are Mauri König, a Brazilian investigative reporter; Mae Azango, a Liberian journalist; jailed Tibetan journalist Dhondup Wangchen; and Azimjon Askarov, a reporter serving a life term in Kyrgyzstan.

After CPJ announced the award winners, Muzaffar Suleymanov, the organization's Europe and Central Asia researcher, was interviewed by Voice of America's Uzbek service about Askarov. The journalist, who heard the broadcast in his prison cell, was visibly moved by the honor, his lawyer told CPJ.

CPJ will also be presenting Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, with the 2012 Burton Benjamin Award for his unwavering commitment to press freedom.

The dinner will be hosted by Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent for PBS and a CPJ board member. The ceremony will take place on November 20, 2012, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Please contact the Development Department for tickets.

September 28, 2012 1:20 PM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, August 2012

CPJ releases report on Venezuela in run-up to elections

As a result of President Hugo Chávez Frias' 13 years in office, several critical media outlets have either disappeared or been scared into silence. The gap has been filled by a vast state media presence that merely echoes the government's positions. CPJ's special report, issued on August 29, the organization's fourth since Chávez took office, highlights the legislative hurdles, online attacks against journalists, and repressive state media that are limiting critical news coverage in the run-up to Venezuela's presidential elections in October.

CPJ received widespread coverage of the report, both in print, including articles published in The Associated Press and The Los Angeles Times, and social media. Editorials published by Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior Americas program coordinator, in Spain's El País, and by CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon, in The Miami Herald, also served to drive interest to the publication.

The report, which features CPJ's recommendations on press freedom to the Venezuelan authorities, is available in English and Spanish or as a podcast

CPJ will be discussing the deterioration of the independent press in Venezuela at two events in September--the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C., on September 13, and the Americas Society, on September 18. 

August 31, 2012 12:09 PM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, July 2012

CPJ calls for release of jailed Ethiopian blogger

CPJ's condemnation of the trial and conviction of Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega this month has received widespread coverage in the international media, as has a follow-up story on the Ethiopian government's attempts to cover up news of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's failing health.

CPJ joined a coalition of international rights groups, including the PEN American Center, in calling for the release of Eskinder, who was sentenced on vague terror charges. Members of the coalition issued a combination of petitions and protest letters in the international media to bring an international focus to the blatant violations of press freedom in Ethiopia. CPJ board member Charlayne Hunter-Gault also wrote a blog on how Ethiopians, especially Eskinder, are being denied the right to exercise their constitutional rights, such as freedom of expression or freedom of association.

Through its advocacy, CPJ has helped garner widespread global attention to the prosecution of journalists in Ethiopia as well as the country's restrictions on press coverage of high-ranking officials. Our advocacy has helped make Eskinder a key symbol in the global fight for press freedom. 

July 26, 2012 3:11 PM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, June 2012

East African journalists flee violence

CPJ's Journalists in Exile report, released on June 19 ahead of World Refugee Day, found that African reporters fleeing violence in their countries make up nearly half of the 463 journalists forced into exile over the past five years. More than a quarter of the 57 journalists who fled their homes this year came from an East African nation, CPJ research shows.

Four East African countries--Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Rwanda--rank among the top 10 of the list. CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program, in its work to optimize advocacy and logistical and financial support, is making a special effort to help East African journalists deal with this crisis.

The report, which is available in English, French, and Spanish, is accompanied by an online video highlighting the experiences of journalists in exile.

June 28, 2012 2:26 PM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, May 2012

CPJ highlights World Press Freedom Day

In a new report marking World Press Freedom Day, CPJ listed the world's top 10 most censored countries, where dictatorial control over news coverage is achieved through a combination of propaganda, brute force, and sophisticated technology. EritreaNorth Korea, and Syria topped the list, underscoring the fact that domestic restrictions on information have broad implications for global geopolitical stability.

CPJ also participated in World Press Freedom Day activities around the globe, from Mexico City to Rabat. CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon spoke about combating impunity at an event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, which was hosted by the French and Greek missions to the U.N. The event marked the fifth anniversary of a U.N. resolution to protect journalists working in conflict zones and sought to assess journalist security and map a way forward. In a video message, Simon reflected on the resolution and its importance, and the need to prioritize journalist security.

Elisabeth Witchel, CPJ's U.K.-based Impunity Campaign consultant, also participated in a panel discussion marking the opening of a photo exhibition in London. The event, which documented the fight for a free press in Mexico through photography, was developed by the U.K.-based aid agency CAFOD in collaboration with CPJ and The Guardian.

CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz participated in a video panel discussion, organized by the U.S. Embassy to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, in which he spoke about the right to information and the pivotal role of free expression in the Sri Lankan reconciliation process.

May 30, 2012 2:09 PM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, April 2012

CPJ launches Journalist Security Guide

CPJ launched the Journalist Security Guide recently, which provides reporters with concrete steps to minimize the dangers of digital and physical reporting. In the guide, Danny O'Brien, CPJ's Internet advocacy coordinator, and Frank Smyth, CPJ's senior security consultant, discuss the threats facing journalists and outline the relevant steps journalists should take in considering their safety.

The guide, which was created in consultation with prominent journalists such as Sebastian Junger, Umar Cheema, and Carolyn Cole, includes six videos and also features guidelines on protecting digital information, preparing for armed conflict, covering organized crime, and mitigating the risk of sexual violence.

To continuously present journalists with up-to-date security information, CPJ is also launching the Journalist Security Blog, a platform that features posts by CPJ and guest bloggers on safer mobile use, first-aid training courses, and new ways to ensure journalist safety. 

The Journalist Security Guide is available online in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish. It can also be downloaded in e-reader, iBook, and pdf formats.  

April 26, 2012 10:47 AM ET


CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, March 2012

Landmark legislation in Mexico

After years of advocacy by CPJ and other press freedom groups, Mexico's senate finally approved legislation ensuring the punishment of anti-press crimes. Mexican President Felipe Calderón had promised a CPJ delegation in 2008 and again in 2010 that he would get the measure implemented, and on March 13, the legislation was passed.  

The achievement--which gives federal authorities jurisdiction over crimes against "journalists, people, or outlets that affects, limits, or impinges upon the right to information and freedom of expression and the press"--should go a long way toward bringing justice for the more than 40 Mexican journalists killed since 2006.

During the passing of the bill on the senate floor, CPJ's Mexico representative, Mike O'Connor, was lauded by the senate for CPJ's contribution to making the law a reality. This heartening victory, however, does not signify a defeat of impunity. It is only one step toward bringing to justice the killers of Mexican journalists who must be tried and sentenced.

March 28, 2012 7:05 PM ET


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