CPJ receives Dodd human rights prize

New York, October 5, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists was honored today with the fourth biennial Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights. The $75,000 prize is given “to an individual or group who has made a significant effort to advance the cause of international justice and global human rights.” CPJ was selected for the prize by a committee representing the University of Connecticut, the advisory board of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, and representatives of the human rights community. 

“Supporting press freedom is an integral part in the promotion of human rights and democracy,” said Betsy Pittman, director of the Dodd Center. “We as citizens are entitled to the truth and knowledge that comes with freedom of the press and we are honored to have the opportunity to award this distinguished prize to an organization whose mission is to ensure press freedom is maintained worldwide.”

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon received the award on the plaza of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd and University of Connecticut President Michael Hogan spoke at the ceremony.

“CPJ is honored to receive this prestigious award,” said Simon. “We accept it as a testament to the incredible risks that journalists take around the world to report the news. It is their dedication that serves as a model for all of us.”

CPJ followed the award presentation with a panel discussion about impunity in the murder of journalists. The panel featured CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova, CPJ co-founder Michael Massing, and CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

Past Dodd prize recipients include British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Center for Justice & Accountability, and Mental Disability Rights International.