A photographer takes pictures of a wildfire in Brasilia, Brazil, in 2018. Check out CPJ's 2023 annual report to learn more about CPJ’s assistance to journalists covering the environment. (Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino)

CPJ Insider: New Year edition

Your support helped sustain our work last year—thank you!

A photographer takes pictures of a wildfire in Brasilia, Brazil, in 2018. Check out CPJ’s 2023 annual report to learn more about CPJ’s assistance to journalists covering the environment. (Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino)

Your life-saving support in 2023 helped sustain CPJ’s work and mission at a particularly difficult time for journalists. Thank you for being our partner and friend–standing with us throughout the year to champion our right to be informed.

Last year, CPJ documented the release of more than 150 journalists from behind bars, and we continued to fight for imprisoned journalists—like Guatemalan publisher José Rubén Zamora or Hong Kong publisher Jimmy Lai or Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. Whether we’re advocating at the highest levels of government or showing up outside a prison where a journalist is held, CPJ will continue working to see journalists are free to do their jobs.

In 2023, we also provided much-needed assistance to 584 journalists from 59 countries. Whether that was providing for basic needs following a relocation, medical or trauma support, or publishing the crucial safety guidance that can be a lifeline in volatile situations, your support helped journalists when they needed it most.

As we move into 2024, the wars in Gaza and Ukraine continue to prove dangerous for journalists; and a record year of elections globally, including in the United States, means CPJ is preparing already to keep journalists safe through whatever these events  may bring. Thank you for helping us in such important work. Press freedom is your freedom.

‘Unparalleled’: Israel-Gaza war takes record toll on journalists

Mourners attend the December 16 funeral of Al-Jazeera camera operator Samer Abu Daqqa, killed in what was believed to be an Israeli drone strike in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza, on December 15. (Reuters/Bassam Masoud)

More journalists were killed in the first 10 weeks of the Israel-Gaza war than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year, according to CPJ data.

CPJ is particularly concerned about an apparent pattern of targeting of journalists and their families by the Israeli military. In at least one case, a journalist was killed while clearly wearing press insignia in a location where no fighting was taking place. In at least two other cases, journalists reported receiving threats from Israeli officials and IDF officers before their family members were killed.  

The Israel-Gaza war deaths have taken place against a backdrop of growing censorship of media in the region, including at least 20 arrests as well as physical and online harassment of journalists. Media facilities have also been damaged or destroyed.

Repeated communications blackouts and a lack of fuel, food, and housing due to the bombardment and limited humanitarian assistance has also severely stifled reporting in Gaza, where international journalists have had almost no independent access for most of the war. Palestinian journalists report a desperate need for assistance to be able to continue reporting, including in the West Bank where some donors have cut funding for long-standing partners.

CPJ published a series of calls to Israel and the international community.

The main recommendations are:

  1. Protect the lives of journalists:

– Facilitate immediate access to humanitarian aid and basic supplies to Gaza and the safe delivery of personal protective equipment – such as helmets and flak jackets – to journalists in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

– Ensure media credentials and press insignia are respected, and that all parties follow international humanitarian law and do not target or harm journalists.

  1. Provide access and the ability to report:

– Grant international news organizations access to Gaza and halt the practice of communications blackouts.

– Repeal new regulations that allow for the shutdown of news organizations and end the “administrative detention” of journalists, which allows for imprisonment without charge.

  1. Investigate attacks and end impunity:

– End the longstanding pattern of impunity in cases of journalists killed by the IDF. The international community should act to ensure swift, transparent, and independent investigations are conducted into all journalist deaths since the October 7 start of the Israel-Gaza war.

CPJ partners with Leica Camera with “The Truth in Focus”

CPJ staffers Eric Helms and Kerry Paterson speak to an audience at Leica Camera’s Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts, last fall. (Andy Ryan for Leica Camera)

CPJ and Leica Camera have joined together in partnership to help point photographers and photojournalists alike in the direction of our safety resources, offer insight into our safety workshops, and help train up a new generation of photographers who will continue to bring the truth into focus and share with us the stories that need to be told; but with the support, solidarity, and protection of CPJ.

CPJ and Leica are holding presentations in New Jersey and New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, as well as safety workshops at Photoville in Brooklyn. Leica also hosted a November charity auction with proceeds to benefit CPJ in Vienna, Austria, which raised over $40,000 to support CPJ’s work and mission.

In partnership with Leica, we’re well on our way to readying a world of witnesses who, with camera in tow, can bring us news as it happens.

CPJ in the news

Palestinian Journalists Offer a Rare Glimpse Into Life in Gaza. But for How Long?” TIME

Issam Abdallah: Rights groups want Israel investigated over killed journalist,” BBC

These Journalists Are Reporting From Gaza Amid Israeli Bombardment,” Teen Vogue

CBC News Network’s Hannah Thibedeau speaks with Jodie Ginsberg, President of the Committee to Protect Journalists,” CBC

‘Hugely frustrating’: international media seek to overcome Gaza ban,” The Guardian

CNN says 9 of Gaza producer’s relatives killed in Israeli strike,” The Hill

The War in Gaza Has Been Deadly for Journalists,” The New Yorker

France says it is working to get AFP journalists out of Gaza,” Le Monde

Israel’s wartime assault on the free press,” Vox Media

Number of journalists killed in Gaza since Oct. 7 attacks called unprecedented loss,” NPR