CPJ celebrates World Press Freedom Day
For the first time in its 30-year history, World Press Freedom Day was held in New York with journalists, diplomats, and advocates from across the world convening for discussions and activities. CPJ, which is headquartered in New York, hosted a number of events on May 3 and throughout the week. Here are a few of the highlights:
CPJ rang the opening bell at Nasdaq in Times Square to raise awareness about the need to #FreeThePress and to ensure journalists like The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich, detained in Russia, are released from prison and allowed to do their jobs freely.
CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything alongside Deborah Ball, Gershkovich’s editor at The Wall Street Journal, to discuss Gershkovich’s detention.
CPJ hosted an event, “Criminal Minded: Countering Legal Attacks on the Free Press,” to discuss the widespread criminalization of journalism.
Click here to watch UNESCO’s global conference, which it hosted in New York City.
CPJ launches “Deadly Pattern” report
In early May, CPJ traveled to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ramallah to launch “Deadly Pattern,” a report on 20 journalist killings by the Israeli military over 22 years. No one has been held accountable for the deaths. The report was initiated after the 2022 murder of prominent Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot “in the back of her head in the gap between her helmet and her protective vest,” despite being clearly identified as press. The report is part of a long history of CPJ’s advocacy to end impunity in the killings of journalists globally, with previous special reports exposing pervasive injustice in journalist killings in Russia (2009), Pakistan (2013) and Mexico (2017).
Watch the launch of the report here:
CPJ also attended a memorial service for Shireen Abu Akleh at the al-Liqaa Melkite Greek Catholic Church in east Jerusalem one year after her death.
“The bullet that killed her left us all in pain and changed our entire lives. One year on, our family is still fighting for justice. One year on, we are still in pain over this insurmountable loss,” Abu Akleh’s niece, Lina Abu Akleh, told Al-Jazeera at the service.
CPJ has issued recommendations for Israel, the United States, and the international community to ensure accountability for journalists who have been killed by the Israel Defense Forces. That includes criminal investigations into the cases of three murdered journalists, a review and reform of the Israeli military’s rules of engagement to prevent the targeting of journalists in the future, and a comprehensive public update on the status of the FBI’s investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh, who was an American citizen.
CPJ to honor Alberto Ibargüen, president of the Knight Foundation
CPJ’s board of directors will present Alberto Ibargüen with the 2023 Gwen Ifill Award at this year’s International Press Freedom Awards. Ibargüen recently announced that he will be stepping down as president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation after 18 years at its helm. Under his leadership, the foundation invested over $2.3 billion in journalism, arts, economic development, and research.
Ibargüen is the former publisher of the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. During his tenure, the Miami Herald won three Pulitzer Prizes and El Nuevo Herald won Spain’s Ortega y Gasset Prize for excellence in journalism. He served on the board of CPJ from 1993 to 2005.
“Alberto Ibargüen has been a visionary leader in journalism,” said Kathleen Carroll, chair of CPJ’s board. “His innovative approach to philanthropy has strengthened press freedom and promoted news literacy across the United States, and the CPJ board is honored to recognize his tireless commitment to defending independent media.”
For tables and sponsorship for this year’s press freedom awards, please see this form.
Must-read or watch
CPJ noted a change in tone toward the press in the Philippines under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took office one year ago. However, that tone has not been accompanied by substantive actions to undo the damage to press freedom under Marcos Jr.’s predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte. “Generally it’s a better environment from hell,” Rappler executive editor Gloria Glenda told CPJ. “We operate not in fear, but there is always this anxiety that this isn’t going to last.”
The Wall Street Journal World Coverage Chief Gordon Fairclough moderated a conversation between CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg and Reuters Editor in Chief Alessandra Galloni at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council in London. “It’s increasingly challenging to report not simply in war zones where it’s always been difficult,” Ginsberg said, “but increasingly in democracies, we see journalists targeted online, we see journalists harassed at protests and rallies, we see journalists physically attacked, and of course, in extreme cases, we see journalists killed.”
CPJ spoke with journalists in Texas on their experiences covering the mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas one year ago. “When I started speaking with my therapist, and she asked me, ‘So, what is it like walking in and seeing people that look like your family and you’re covering this huge tragedy?’ And that’s when it kind of hit me, this is absolutely affecting me on a level I didn’t realize,” Texas Tribune journalist Jinitzail Hernández told CPJ.
CPJ in the news
“Guatemala’s El Periodico Newspaper To Shut Down Amid Founder’s Prosecution,” The Associated Press
“Global Risks to Journalists Increase, Say Press Advocates,” The Wall Street Journal
“Still No Justice for Shireen Abu Akleh,” Jewish Currents
“The Limits of Joe Biden’s Calls for Press Freedom,” The New Yorker
“When journalists are persecuted, we all suffer,” The Guardian
“CPJ: No accountability for journalists killed by IDF,” The Jerusalem Post