CPJ Update

CPJ Update
December 2006
News from the Committee to Protect Journalists

CPJ honors four brave journalists on its 25th anniversary
In a ceremony that marked 25 years of press freedom advocacy and highlighted the record number of attacks on journalists in Iraq, CPJ honored four journalists with 2006 International Press Freedom Awards on Tuesday, November 21 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

More than 850 people attended the benefit dinner which raised $1.3 million and was co-chaired by Robert A. Iger, president and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company, and John S. Carroll, the Knight Visiting Lecturer at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s Chief International Correspondent and a CPJ board member, hosted the dinner that paid tribute to the organization’s many dedicated board members, former executive directors and former award winners who gathered onstage.

Aryeh Neier, president of the Open Society Institute, announced a $1 million dollar gift to CPJ for the Michael Massing Emergency Response Fund, named for CPJ co-founder Michael Massing.

Four international journalists received awards for their courage; Jesús Abad Colorado of Colombia, Jamal Amer of Yemen, and Madi Ceesay of the Gambia who have all risked their lives to report the news, enduring attacks, harassment, and imprisonment. CPJ also posthumously honored Atwar Bahjat, correspondent for Al-Arabiya satellite television and a former Al-Jazeera reporter who was gunned down while covering a bombing near Samarra, Iraq, in February.

Hodding Carter III, the respected newspaper editor, television journalist, foundation executive, and professor, received CPJ’s Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement.

• Read the text of the speeches made by Colorado, Amer, Ceesay and Carter here: http://www.cpj.org/awards06/post_awards_release_06.html
Photographs from the benefit dinner and awards ceremony are also available here:

UBS & McClatchy host welcoming receptions for CPJ award winners
CPJ is grateful to UBS and to McClatchy for hosting receptions for this year’s International Press Freedom Award winners. On November 16, McClatchy’s Washington Bureau opened its doors for CPJ staff and awardees and Bureau Chief David Westphal highlighted the risks local journalists face.

At its midtown Manhattan offices, UBS hosted a reception to welcome CPJ’s award winners, board members, and staff on the eve of the benefit dinner. The reception was attended by participants in the 2006 International Press Freedom Awards dinner including Christiane Amanpour, and former award winners Yevgeny Kiselyov of Russia, Geoff Nyarota of Zimbabwe, and Argentina’s Horacio Verbitsky. In his remarks, UBS-Americas Chairman and CEO Mark Sutton spoke about the importance of CPJ’s work to bolster transparency and the free flow of information.

CPJ urges International Olympic Committee to raise press freedom concerns with Chinese government

CPJ board member Jane Kramer, European correspondent for The New Yorker, and CPJ Senior Research Associate Kristin Jones traveled to Lausanne, Switzerland for a meeting with members of the International Olympic Committee to voice concerns about the erosion of press freedom in China during the run-up to the Olympic Games in Beijing in August 2008. At the November 15 meeting, Kramer and Jones called attention to increasing restrictions on the press in China and urged the IOC to raise concerns with the Chinese government, noting that local journalists in particular will bear the brunt of official retribution after the games are over, and that people look to the IOC to take a position on the issue because of the principles of free, open exchange and transparency that the Olympics represent.

Learn more about CPJ’s meeting with the IOC here: http://www.cpj.org/news/2006/asia/china15nov06na.html

CPJ joins talks on code of conduct for Internet companies
On November 6, CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon and Senior Editor Robert Mahoney took part in talks in New York aimed at establishing a voluntary code of conduct for Internet and communications companies to safeguard the right to free expression and privacy of Web users.

CPJ had pressed to join the forum which groups international communication and Internet companies, nongovernmental organizations, academics, and investors. The forum meets under strict non-disclosure rules. Neither the identity of the participants nor the content of their discussions can be revealed.

The conduct of Internet companies has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of arrests in China of Internet writers such as Shi Tao. He received a 10-year jail sentence in 2005 after Yahoo! helped Chinese authorities trace his e-mail exchanges with a New York-based news Web site. CPJ honored Shi with a 2005 International Press Freedom award. For more information about Shi’s case, click here: http://www.cpj.org/awards05/shi_tao.html


• Politkovskaya Panel in New York December 6

CPJ will co-sponsor an evening of readings and a conversation about murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya with PEN and the Center for the Humanities, the Graduate Center, CUNY. A panel discussion will feature a conversation about the costs of an ongoing but forgotten war in Chechnya with Musa Klebnikov, widow of murdered journalist Paul Klebnikov, CPJ Board member Kati Marton, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, New Yorker Editor David Remnick, editor of The Nation Katrina vanden Heuvel, and Natalia Estemirova, of the “Memorial” Human Rights Center. Scenes from the documentary film Democracy on Deadline will be screened.

For more information: http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/911/prmID/172

Imprisoned List to be released on December 7
CPJ will release its list of journalists imprisoned for their work in 2006. The annual census, compiled for CPJ’s worldwide survey Attacks on the Press, will be based on the number of journalists behind bars on December 1, 2006. Attacks on the Press will be released in February 2007.

Russia and Venezuela Missions
In January 2007, CPJ chairman Paul Steiger and board member Norman Pearlstine will go with Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova and Executive Director Joel Simon to Moscow to meet with Russian officials and call for justice in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya and the 12 other journalists murdered contract-style since 2000.

Also in January 2007, CPJ board member Victor Navasky will travel with Americas Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría to Caracas to lobby for improved press freedom conditions in Venezuela.