‘Journalists in Gaza are facing exponential risk:’ a look at CPJ’s response to the war
The world is watching in horror the unfolding events in the Israel-Gaza war. Working closely with our partners in the region, CPJ is documenting press freedom violations—with scores of journalists killed, assaulted, detained, threatened, and censored. We offer safety consultations and advice, and we are calling on the international community to ensure journalists, as protected civilians under international law, are free to report the news safely and are not seen as targets. Despite grave dangers, journalists provide timely, factual (often life-saving) information in a sea of disinformation.
A free press is the ultimate antidote to the fog of war. For this issue of Insider, we wanted to point you to some of the incredible reporting our Middle East and North Africa team has done since October 7:
CPJ releases its 2023 Annual Report
This year’s 2023 annual report highlights our efforts to help journalists through awareness, advocacy, and assistance—the three-pronged approach CPJ is taking, alongside our strategic plan, to ensure journalists can bring us the news safely and without fear of reprisal.
The report includes a profile of our Africa team, a story of CPJ’s efforts to secure the release of Georgian journalist Nika Gvaramia, a map of the vast financial and non-financial assistance CPJ provided in 2022, and much more!
Unlike years past, we are not printing the report. Instead, this digital copy helps us reduce the amount of paper we use, while continuing to keep you up-to-date on the kind of difference CPJ makes in the lives of journalists around the world. Thank you for continuing to stand by CPJ when it matters most.
Where killers get away with murder: CPJ releases its 2023 Global Impunity Index
CPJ released its annual index documenting where killers get away with the murder of journalists. 261 journalists were murdered in connection with their work between September 1, 2013 – the year the United Nations declared November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists – and August 31, 2023. This year’s index finds that during this 10-year period, no-one has been held to account in 204 – more than 78% – of these cases.
This year, crisis-hit Haiti emerged as one of the countries where the murderers of journalists are most likely to go free. A devastating combination of gang violence, chronic poverty, political instability, and a dysfunctional judiciary are behind the Caribbean country’s first inclusion on CPJ’s annual list of nations where killers get away with murder. Haiti ranks as the world’s third-worst impunity offender, behind Syria and Somalia respectively. Somalia, along with Iraq, Mexico, the Philippines, Pakistan, and India, have been on the index every year since its inception. Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Brazil also have been there for years – a sobering reminder of the persistent and pernicious nature of impunity.
You can read the full report here. Because CPJ’s methodology serves as a snapshot for the last 10 years—this year falling between September 1, 2013 and August 31, 2023—this year’s index did not include journalists killed in the Israel-Gaza war, which began on Oct. 7. For detailed reporting on journalist casualties stemming from the war, click here.
A death in Malta: new book from son of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
Daphne Caruana Galizia was a devoted mother to three sons and a muckraking journalist whose courageous reporting was essential reading in her native Malta. When Daphne was murdered by a car bomb in 2017, just down the road from the family home, her death attracted global coverage, lionizing her bravery in the face of chronic corruption and intimidation. Her murder has been an ongoing case for CPJ as we fight to end impunity for her death. A new book, A Death in Malta (Riverhead Books; on-sale November 7, 2023), narrates both Daphne’s riveting, inspiring life and death and her family’s crusade to hold accountable those responsible for her assassination. A story Daphne that would have been proud to have written, it is told powerfully and intimately by her son, the award-winning journalist Paul Caruana Galizia.
Paul Caruana Galizia’s reporting has won a British Journalism Award and a Special Award from the Orwell Prize for Journalism, among other accolades. With his brothers, he has received global attention and numerous human rights awards for their ongoing campaigns for justice to honor the work and life of their mother and uphold the values she embodied. Click here to check it out.
Must-read or watch
From Guatemala to Turkey, CPJ spoke with journalists’ lawyers who have faced retaliation around the world. From harassment to surveillance and even imprisonment, when lawyers for reporters start facing the same kinds of threats as their clients, it creates an environment of censorship that harms citizens’ ability to stay informed about what is happening in their countries. “When journalists can’t have access to lawyers, they’re kind of left on their own,” Doreen Weisenhaus, a media law expert at Northwestern University, told CPJ.
CPJ’s new timeline illustrates the 35-year road to justice for murdered journalist Hugo Bustíos Saavedra. Killed in 1988, CPJ and other press freedom groups tried for years to pressure Peru’s government to investigate Bustíos’ murder, including efforts to censure the Peruvian government. Former army general Daniel Urresti Elera was convicted in April and sentenced to 12 years in prison for taking part in the killing. “Justice has been done,” Sharmelí Bustíos Patiño, the journalist’s daughter, said on X (formerly Twitter) on the day Urresti was sentenced. “The road has been hard and painful. Today all that remains is to give thanks.”
The August 2023 death of Russian mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin made headlines around the world. To press freedom observers, the death was notable for another reason: It could open doors to long-stalled efforts for justice for three Russian journalists—Orkhan Dzhemal, Kirill Radchenko, and Aleksandr Rastorguyev—killed as they set out to investigate the mercenary’s work in the Central African Republic in 2018. “The most important thing,” a representative from the Dossier Center, a London-based nonprofit that has investigated the killings, told CPJ, “is that the families know who killed their loved ones and that they are punished. Despite the pain that will never end, justice will give them some solace.”
CPJ in the news
“‘I’m living the story’: Gaza journalists risk their lives to deliver the news,” Financial Times
“When journalists are killed in Gaza, more lives are at stake,” The Los Angeles Times
“Russian-American journalist charged in Russia with failing to register as a ‘foreign agent’,” The Associated Press
“Across Africa, journalists must increasingly navigate internet shutdowns,” Tribune Online
“The Deadly Toll of Reporting From Gaza and Israel,” WNYC’s On the Media
“It’s becoming impossible to report from Gaza,” The Washington Post
“President of Committee to Protect Journalists talks about Israel-Hamas war,” Spectrum News NY1