CPJ urges Secretary Pompeo to respect press freedom

January 31, 2020 1:12 PM ET

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On Wednesday, CPJ sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on him to support press freedom following a January 24 incident in which Pompeo berated NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelley. Three days after the incident, the State Department barred another NPR reporter from traveling aboard Pompeo’s plane on a State Department trip. CPJ’s Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney described the incidents as “disturbing,” adding that, “referring to U.S. media organizations as ‘unhinged’ casts doubt that the U.S. can be counted on to stand up for critical media.”

Last week, CPJ joined U.N. human rights experts in calling for an investigation into allegations that Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked by spyware sent by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. New York Times journalist Ben Hubbard revealed on Tuesday that he had also been subject to a Saudi hacking attempt, prompting CPJ to call for greater oversight and restrictions on the sale of spying tools to authoritarian regimes.

CPJ Emergencies’ Digital Safety Kit and safety advisory on Pegasus spyware provides information on how journalists can protect themselves from an attack.

A timeline published by CPJ illustrates how the alleged hacking of Bezos’ phone preceded the Saudi killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Global press freedom updates

  • In Nigeria, Federal Radio Corporation journalist Maxwell Nashan dies after attack
  • Mexican journalist Sergio Aguayo Quezada fined 10 million pesos over corruption report
  • Dominican journalist Marino Zapete faces criminal defamation trial for reporting on corruption
  • Turkish authorities cancel press passes for hundreds of journalists
  • Ecuadorean broadcast regulator revokes local government-run radio station Pichincha Universal’s radio license
  • Ukrainian journalist Taras Ibragimov banned from entering Russia for 34 years
  • Political party security officials assault Zimbabwean journalist
  • Internet access partially restored in most of Kashmir, but service remains slow; social media platforms, many local news sites still blocked.
  • Cuban reporter Iliana Hernández charged with illegally possessing journalistic equipment
  • Cambodia upholds espionage investigations into ex-Radio Free Asia reporters
  • Dijlah TV broadcaster suspended for one month in Jordan, offices raided in Iraq
  • Somaliland court sentences journalist to 21 months in prison


'I Voted' stickers and registration forms pictured on January 17, 2020, the first day of early voting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. CPJ Emergencies has resources and tips for journalists covering the U.S. 2020 election. (Getty/AFP/Stephen Maturen)

As elections ramp up in the U.S., CPJ Emergencies released a safety kit in English and Spanish to help journalists reporting on the 2020 elections. The safety kit includes information for editors, reporters, and photojournalists on how to prepare for assignments and how to mitigate and prepare for digital, physical, and psychological risk.

If you are a journalist covering the 2020 elections, sign up for our #PressSafety2020 mailing list to receive safety advisories and updates from CPJ Emergencies, and join the conversation on social media with #PressSafety2020 hashtag.

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