The grant, its second to CPJ, will bring to $950,000 Knight Foundation’s total giving over five years to the nonprofit press freedom group, the only U.S.-based organization with a full-time staff dedicated to safeguarding journalists and freedom of expression worldwide. Knight began its support in 1996 with a three-year $300,000 challenge grant for emergency response, which CPJ matched a year and a half ahead of schedule. The new funds, which are unrestricted, will be received in three installments, $150,000 in 1999, and $250,000 in each of the next two years.
“We are deeply appreciative of Knight’s generosity and support of press freedom worldwide,” said Gene Roberts, chairman of CPJ’s board of directors. “This significant contribution will give CPJ the underpinnings we need to attack major problems in Africa, Yugoslavia, Asia, and elsewhere.”
The grant to CPJ was among 13 journalism grants totaling $5 million announced by the Miami-based Knight Foundation today.
Knight’s challenge grant enabled CPJ to undertake a major campaign in Turkey aimed at freeing the record number of imprisoned journalists in that country, to help Nigeria’s beleaguered press community under of Gen. Sani Abacha’s brutal rule, and to mount fact-finding missions to Cambodia, Vietnam, the Balkans, Mexico, and Hong Kong.
“We are proud to receive this recognition of the importance of our mission from a foundation known for fostering press freedom and excellence in journalism,” said Ann K. Cooper, CPJ’s executive director, in announcing the Knight grant today at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where the organization released its annual survey of press freedom conditions around the world, Attacks on the Press in 1998.
The 400-page book, compiled from the first-hand research of CPJ’s professional staff, is the single most authoritative and comprehensive source of information on the status of press freedom around the world. The book describes CPJ’s actions on behalf of hundreds of journalists through emergency response and fact-finding missions, personal appeals by CPJ board members and staff, and media campaigns.
Established in 1950, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation makes national grants in journalism, education, and arts and culture. Its fourth program, community initiatives, is concentrated in 26 communities where the Knight brothers published newspapers. The Foundation, however, has no affiliation with Knight Ridder.