Forced to flee: Exiled journalists remain unsafe

Begum TV is a channel led by Afghan journalists in exile in France. (Photo: AFP/ Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt)

Threats, repression, conflict, and unrest: across the world, these and other factors are pushing journalists into exile in record numbers. In a striking development, exiled or soon-to-be exiled journalists now make up more than half of the people CPJ assists. Between January and June 2024, CPJ provided financial support to 158 journalists; 101, or about 64% of these people had fled their home countries or were in the process of fleeing.

These figures demonstrate the dire needs of journalists in exile, and the bitter reality that exile is not the end of a journalist’s problems but in many cases just the beginning. 

Unless journalists have dual citizenship, preexisting visas, or the ability to acquire an emergency visa, they may have to remain in a transit country while seeking permanent resettlement to a third country, a process that can take months or years. Many transit countries also have poor press freedom records.

In a new CPJ special report, Emergencies Director Lucy Westcott explains why so many journalists remain insecure in exile.

More in the report:
-Feature: The exodus of Ecuador’s press
-Feature: Exiled Ethiopian journalists struggle
CPJ’s recommendations on emergency visas
CPJ emergency assistance information

CPJ welcomes reports that Assange will be released in plea deal
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, pictured in a prison van in the U.K. on May 1, 2019. The U.S. has disclosed charges under the Espionage Act against Assange. (Photo: AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, pictured in a prison van in the U.K. on May 1, 2019.(AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes reports that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be freed from prison in a plea deal with the United States Justice Department.

“Julian Assange faced a prosecution that had grave implications for journalists and press freedom worldwide,” said CPJ CEO Jodie Ginsberg. “While we welcome the end of his detention, the U.S.’s pursuit of Assange has set a harmful legal precedent by opening the way for journalists to be tried under the Espionage Act if they receive classified material from whistleblowers. This should never have been the case.”

According to news reports, Assange is expected to plead guilty to an Espionage Act charge of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defense information.  

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Journalists Attacked

Myat Thu Tan


Myat Thu Tan, a contributor to the local news website Western News and correspondent for several independent Myanmar news outlets, was shot and killed on January 31, 2024, while in military custody in Mrauk-U in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.

He was arrested on September 22, 2022, and held in pre-trial detention under a broad provision of the penal code that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news for critical posts he made on his Facebook page. Myat Thu Tan had not been tried or convicted at the time of his death.

The journalist’s body was found buried in a bomb shelter, with the bodies of six other political detainees, and showed signs of torture.

Myanmar’s military junta has cracked down on journalists and media outlets since seizing power in a February 2021 coup.

In at least 8 out of 10 cases, the murderers of journalists go free. CPJ is waging a global campaign against impunity.

The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide.

We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

journalists killed in 2024 (motive confirmed)
imprisoned in 2023
missing globally