May 16, 2005
News from the Committee to Protect Journalists
Most murderous places
Philippine officials called for the government to put an end to a deadly, years-long assault on journalists after the Philippines topped our list of the world's "Most Murderous Countries for Journalists." President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched a press freedom fund to assist victims' families and stop attacks against journalists.
We issued a special report identifying the world's most murderous countries and analyzing deaths among journalists to mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3. Eighteen Philippine journalists were killed in retaliation for their work since 2000. Iraq, Colombia, Bangladesh, and Russia rounded out our list of the five most murderous countries for journalists.
Our analysis, which continues to draw worldwide media attention, revealed that murder is the leading cause of job-related deaths among journalists worldwide, and that murder with impunity is the most urgent threat to journalists worldwide. The report also noted that journalists were often slain in retaliation for reporting on government corruption, crime, drug trafficking, or the activities of rebel groups
Deadly violence against journalists continues unabated in the Philippines. Klein Cantoneros, a radio broadcaster known for his anti-corruption stance, was shot dead by gunmen on May 4. Less than a week later, Philip Agustin, editor and publisher of the local weekly Starline Times Recorder, was also shot and killed. A CPJ delegation will travel to the Philippines this summer to further investigate the killings and push for government action.
To read about the Most Murderous Countries for Journalists: http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2005/murderous_05/murderous_05.html
To read about the most recent Philippine slayings:
Dangerous checkpoints in Iraq
CPJ called on the U.S. military to improve checkpoint safety in Iraq after the Pentagon released its investigation into a March 4 roadblock shooting that left Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari dead and journalist Guiliana Sgrena wounded. The report cleared U.S. troops of wrongdoing.
Our research shows that U.S. forces' fire in Iraq has taken the lives of at least nine journalists and two media workers since March 2003. Journalists have told CPJ that the protocol in approaching U.S. checkpoints remains unclear two years after hostilities began. Several have described coming under fire unexpectedly when approaching checkpoints or when operating in their vicinity.
We urged the Pentagon to follow through on the recommendations contained in its April 30 investigative report. The recommendations include: a review of checkpoint and roadblock procedures; the use of more effective warning signs; the use of speed bumps and other roadway alerts; and the launch of a public awareness campaign to alert drivers how to respond at checkpoints.
To read more: http://www.cpj.org/news/2005/Iraq02may05na.html
CPJ security handbook now in Arabic
We will release a new Arabic version of our journalist security handbook, "On Assignment: A Guide to Reporting in Dangerous Situation," in Doha, Qatar, on May 23.
The translated version, funded by a grant from CNN, was published in response to the heavy toll suffered by Arab journalists covering the Iraqi conflict. Since the war began, 41 journalists of various nationalities have been killed in the line of duty, but Arab journalists have suffered the most casualties, with 26 killed, mostly in crossfire.
CPJ Journalist Security Coordinator Frank Smyth, the handbook's author, will release the new edition at a Doha press conference.
New board members
We are very pleased to welcome Christiane Amanpour, Andres Oppenheimer, and Mark Whitaker to CPJ's board of directors. Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, is a seven-time Emmy Award winner who has reported on crises from many of the world's most dangerous locations. Oppenheimer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign affairs columnist for The Miami Herald whose syndicated column appears in more than 40 U.S. and Latin American newspapers. Whitaker, editor of Newsweek and president of the American Society of Magazine Editors, has reported from Central America, the Falklands, the Middle East, South Africa, and the Soviet Union.
Dangerous Assignments coming soon
The new issue of Dangerous Assignments, CPJ's magazine, will be available this month. Our cover story examines the mysterious disappearance of French and Canadian journalist Guy-André Kieffer in Ivory Coast last year. The new issue also looks at Nepalese bloggers who are circumventing state censorship; post-traumatic stress among journalists; and Russian repression in Chechnya.
Censorship in the Arab world
Joel Campagna, our senior program coordinator for North Africa and the Middle East, spoke about security issues in Iraq and press freedom throughout the region during a panel discussion at the Journalism and the Arab World Conference at the University of Texas, Austin, on April 23. The conference was co-sponsored by the National Arab American Journalists Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the University of Texas at Austin.
In March, the Knight Foundation gave CPJ $100,000 to help print and broadcast journalists in northwest Indonesia affected by the December tsunami. The money will establish a special free press fund to protect Indonesian journalists from government censorship and harassment. Last month, Knight approved an additional $100,000 for CPJ's general operating costs over two years. We are grateful for the foundation's continued support.