March 16, 2005
News from the Committee to Protect Journalists
CPJ launches Attacks on the Press, meets with foreign officials
After launching Attacks on the Press in 2004 at a press conference that drew dozens of international reporters to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Monday, we met with foreign ambassadors and envoys to further our message.
Clarence Page, CPJ board member and Chicago Tribune columnist, and Julia Crawford, our Africa program coordinator, met Gambian Ambassador Dodou Bammy Jagne in one of our key sessions. They expressed our grave concern about the murder of veteran journalist and press freedom activist Deyda Hydara in a drive-by shooting in December. Hydara was killed just days after the country adopted repressive media legislation that he had outspokenly opposed. The Gambia’s National Assembly had adopted repressive amendments to the country’s Criminal Code and Newspaper Act, including mandatory prison sentences of up to three years for journalists convicted of publishing defamatory or “seditious” material.
Page, Crawford, and Deputy Director Joel Simon will travel to the Gambia next month to investigate media conditions. Jagne promised to help the CPJ delegation get appointments with government officials and said he would contact the Foreign Ministry on our behalf.
For our latest protest on the disturbing developments in the Gambia, visit: http://www.cpj.org/protests/05ltrs/Gambia16mar05pl.html
For the latest on the Gongadze case visit: http://www.cpj.org/news/2005/Ukraine04mar05na.html and: http://www.cpj.org/news/2005/Ukraine01mar05na.html
CPJ to Rumsfeld: ‘Vigorous’ inquiry needed in shooting
“The circumstances surrounding some of these incidents suggest that U.S. troops may have used reckless or indiscriminate force that endangered the lives of all civilians, including members of the press,” Cooper pointed out in our March 8 letter to Rumsfeld. “In some cases, the circumstances also suggest a failure by commanders to communicate critical information to their troops on the ground.”
Sgrena had just been released by kidnappers after a month in captivity when the car taking her to the Baghdad airport came under fire from U.S. forces at a temporary checkpoint. Conflicting accounts of the shooting have emerged, with Sgrena disputing the U.S. military’s description of the car’s speed and the soldiers’ warnings. In our letter, we urged Rumsfeld to ensure that all witnesses are interviewed and all evidence examined.
To read our letter, click here: http://www.cpj.org/protests/05ltrs/Iraq08mar05pl.html
Signers of today’s letter include Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, Argentine author Tomás Eloy Martínez, Brazilian journalist Geraldinho Vieira, and Venezuelan editor Teodoro Petkof.
To read more, click here: http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2005/cuba_crackdown_05/cuba_crackdown_main.html
CPJ spreads word in Panama
Steiger elected CPJ chairman
Laventhol–who was president of Times Mirror Co., publisher and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Times, and publisher of Columbia Journalism Review during a career spanning four decades–has served as CPJ chairman since 2002. Under his leadership, the organization increased in size and influence while setting new records for fund-raising. We are all very grateful to Laventhol for astute leadership that greatly enhanced our advocacy and financial security.
We’re proud to welcome Steiger, one of the country’s top editors, to the leadership post. Under his guidance, The Wall Street Journal‘s reporters and editors have won 13 Pulitzer Prizes. He joined CPJ’s board in 2003 and was elected vice chairman the next year.
Pearlstine in magazine Hall of Fame