Our Research

CPJ’s work is based on its research, which provides a global snapshot of obstructions to a free press worldwide. CPJ’s research staff documents hundreds of attacks on the press each year. Each case identified as a violation of press freedom is corroborated by more than one source for factual accuracy, confirmation that the victims were journalists or news organizations, and verification that intimidation was the probable motive.

CPJ defines journalists as people who cover news or comment on public affairs through any media — including in print, in photographs, on radio, on television, and online. We take up cases involving staff journalists, freelancers, stringers, bloggers, and citizen journalists. The combination of daily reporting and statistical data forms the basis of our case-driven and long-term advocacy.

CPJ Data

Killed: CPJ has compiled detailed records on journalist fatalities since 1992. Staff members independently investigate and verify the circumstances behind each death. CPJ considers a case work-related only when reasonably certain that a journalist was killed in direct reprisal for his or her work; in crossfire; or while carrying out a dangerous assignment. Cases involving unclear motives, but with a potential link to journalism, are classified as “unconfirmed” and CPJ continues to investigate.

Imprisoned: CPJ’s annual census is a snapshot of those incarcerated at midnight, annually on December 1. It does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year; accounts of those cases can be found at www.cpj.org. Journalists who either disappear or are abducted by nonstate entities such as criminal gangs or militant groups are not included in the prison census. Their cases are classified as “detained,” “missing” or “abducted.”

Impunity Index: CPJ’s annual Impunity Index, first published in 2008, calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. Each year, the index includes murders that occurred during a one-year period and that remain unsolved. Only nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been obtained. CPJ’s Impunity Index is compiled as part of the organization’s Global Campaign Against Impunity, which is supported by the Adessium Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Leon Levy Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.