US must be global leader in defending press freedom, CPJ tells Congress

CPJ to testify at hearing on dangers of human rights reporting

Washington, D.C., May 16, 2019–At a congressional hearing today on the dangers of reporting on human rights, Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, will highlight the risks for journalists globally who report on human rights abuses, and call on Congress to speak out against press freedom violations.

In testimony scheduled to take place before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Simon will provide an overview of the dangers for journalists covering human rights, highlight methods governments use to prevent the free flow of information, and present recommendations to the U.S. government.

Simon will testify alongside Hatice Cengiz, whose fiancé, the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, was murdered by Saudi officials last year, as well as other journalists and civil society representatives.

Of the 1,340 journalists killed in relation to their work since 1992, at least 285 covered human rights, CPJ has found. At the close of 2018, CPJ recorded at least 250 journalists behind bars, of which 151 reported on human rights issues.

“Given the extent and intensity of threats to reporting on human rights, it is as important as ever that the U.S. provide global leadership,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Those whose rights have been violated should know the U.S. government stands with them. And those who have violated others’ rights should know there will be consequences for their actions.”

A livestream of the hearing and copy of CPJ’s full testimony and recommendations is available here. Learn more about journalists imprisoned and killed around the world on CPJ’s website.

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