CPJ Impact

February 2010

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists

Attacks on the Press will launch in six cities globally
CPJ will be releasing its annual comprehensive survey of press freedom around the world, Attacks on the Press, in six cities on Tuesday, February 16.

  • The Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan will host “Press Freedom: On the Frontlines and Online,” a panel discussion on global threats to press freedom both on the ground and on the Internet, particularly in Asia. CPJ Board Chair Paul Steiger will moderate a panel featuring CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon; Nobuhisa Degawa, NHK correspondent for Middle East Affairs and former Iraq bureau chief; Maria Ressa, head of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs; Nobuyoshi Sakajiri, deputy foreign news editor of Asahi Shimbun; and CPJ Asia Research Associate Madeline Earp. After the discussion, CPJ will host a luncheon featuring keynote speaker Koïchiro Matsuura, who recently stepped down from his position as UNESCO director-general.
  • CPJ Senior Program Coordinator for the Americas Carlos Lauría will host a joint event with for the Foundation for Freedom of the Press in Colombia (FLIP) in Bogotá. He will be joined on a panel by Colombian journalist and CPJ Board Member Maria Teresa Ronderos, Executive Director of FLIP Andres Morales, and FLIP President Ignacio Gomez. Maziar Bahari, Newsweek’s Tehran correspondent who was imprisoned in Iran after the crackdown in June 2009 and CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz will participate in a press event at the United Nations in New York with CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. They will follow the press conference with a panel discussion at Columbia University, hosted by Ann Cooper and the Graduate School of Journalism.
  • CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova and CPJ Europe Consultants Elisabeth Witchell, Jean-Paul Marthoz, and Borja Bergareche will lead a breakfast briefing in Brussels, meeting with EU officials to focus on impunity concerns in Russia. CPJ Middle East Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem and Middle East Consultant Kamel Labidi will present regional findings and discuss the media crackdowns in Yemen, Morocco, and Iran at a press conference in Cairo.
  • In Nairobi, Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes will hold a briefing focused on exiled Somali journalists, many of whom face threats and harassment on a daily basis as they try to survive in Nairobi.

This year’s edition features a preface about the increased vulnerability of freelance journalists working around the globe by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria.

If you’d like to order a copy of the book, please go the Brookings Institution. Attacks on the Press will be released simultaneously on our Web site, www.cpj.org.

Impunity: Finding justice for the fallen
CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon writes about the issue of impunity in the murders of journalists in the January 26 issue of Index on Censorship, outlining how press freedom advocates can combat the culture impunity and find justice for the fallen.

Simon describes the years-long fight for justice in places like the Philippines and Russia, two of the world’s worst countries for impunity in the cases of murdered journalists. High-profile cases like those of Anna Politkovskaya in Russia, or Marlene Garcia-Esperat in the Philippines are emblematic of a larger problem that needs a systematic and organized approach like CPJ’s Global Campaign Against Impunity, he argues. With the help of groups like the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which generously funds the work of CPJ and regional organizations like the Inter-American Press Association, press freedom advocates are able to more effectively combat impunity around the world.

Read the full article at Index on Censorship.

‘Earthquake in Haiti’ series on CPJ Blog
Haitian journalist Jean Roland Chery has been blogging from CPJ’s offices in New York as part of an ongoing series detailing the struggles of the Haitian media as they try to rebound from the devastating earthquake that struck in January. Chery has found that the greatest difficulty Haitian journalists face is the loss of colleagues and family members. Entire media outlets have been destroyed and most are operating at partial capacity, if at all.

“Earthquake in Haiti: Reporting in the Ruins” also features pieces by guest blogger Garry Pierre-Pierre and CPJ staffers. You can read the entire series, including Chery’s most recent piece “Provisional media death toll rising in Haiti,” on the CPJ Blog.

CPJ awardee founds Somali media organization
Mustafa Haji Abdinur, a recipient of CPJ’s 2009 International Press Freedom Award and editor in chief of Radio Simba, has been a leading force in the foundation of a new media NGO, Somali Media for Peace and Development (SOMEPED). The organization, endorsed this month by the National Union of the Somali Journalists, will seek to aid local Somali journalists in their work as well as build a positive image of the press.

Abdinur told us how receiving CPJ’s award was an integral step toward the formation of SOMEPED. “I was recognized for being committed to advocating for free press and that is why I’m so encouraged to bring something that could make sense for my country and people,” he said. “We need as journalists to champion for peace.”

Staff news
CPJ welcomes José Barbeito as our new Americas Research Associate. An Argentine native from Tucumán province, Barbeito has a bachelor’s degree in law and is currently doing a master’s in Media Studies at The New School University in New York. Between 2007 and 2009, José worked as a researcher for the Foundation for the Press Freedom in Colombia (FLIP). At FLIP, Barbeito researched and wrote different kinds of publications-news alerts, reports, manuals, and press releases-conducted interviews with journalists, editors, and officials, and directed workshops on access to public information. José also interned at Buenos Aires-based newspaper La Nacion and CNN en Espanol.