Our People

CPJ is made up of about 40 experts around the world, with headquarters in New York City.

View MoreView Less Joel Simon
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Joel Simon
Joel Simon

Joel Simon has been the executive director of Committee to Protect Journalists since 2006. Simon has led the organization through a period of expansion, helping to launch the Global Campaign Against Impunity, establish a Journalist Assistance program, and spearhead CPJ's defense of press freedom in the digital space through the creation of dedicated Technology Program.

Simon has participated in CPJ missions around the world, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Under his leadership, CPJ has been honored with the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights and a News & Documentary Emmy for its work in defense of press freedom, and numerous other awards.

Simon has written widely on press freedom issues for publications including Slate, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, World Policy Journal, Asahi Shimbun, and The Times of India. His analysis of press freedom issues is featured regularly in major media. He is regular columnist for Columbia Journalism Review.

Prior to joining CPJ in 1997 as Americas program coordinator, Simon worked for a decade as a freelance journalist in Latin America. He covered the Guatemalan civil war, the Zapatista uprising in Southern Mexico, the debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the economic turmoil in Cuba following the collapse of the Soviet Union. A graduate of Amherst College and Stanford University, he is the author of Endangered Mexico: An Environment on the Edge (Sierra Club Books, 1997) and The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom (Columbia University Press 2015). His public GPG encryption key can be found here.

Follow him on Twitter @joelcpj.

View MoreView Less Robert Mahoney
DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Robert Mahoney
Robert Mahoney

Mahoney joined CPJ in August 2005 as senior editor and became CPJ's deputy director in January 2007. He has worked as a journalist in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He reported on politics and economics for Reuters news agency from Brussels and Paris in the late 1970s, and from Southeast Asia in the early 1980s. Mahoney covered South Asia from Delhi for three years from 1985, reporting on the aftermath of Indira Gandhi's assassination, the civil war in Sri Lanka, and the fallout from the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. In 1988, he became Reuters bureau chief for West and Central Africa, based in the Ivory Coast and spending considerable time in Liberia covering the civil war. He served as Reuters Jerusalem bureau chief from 1990 to 1997, directing print and, later, television coverage of the Palestinian intifada, the Iraqi missile attacks on Israel, the Oslo peace process, and the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Mahoney worked as chief correspondent in Germany from 1997 to 1999 before moving to London to become news editor of politics and general news for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. In 2004, he taught journalism for the Reuters Foundation in the Middle East, and worked as a consultant for Human Rights Watch.

View MoreView Less Elana Beiser
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Elana Beiser
Elana Beiser

Elana Beiser is responsible for all of CPJ's online, print, and multimedia publications and research. Among other pieces, she edited CPJ's landmark special report on press freedom in the United States, "The Obama Administration and the Press: Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America" as well as " Challenged in China: The shifting dynamics of censorship and control." She joined CPJ as senior editor in 2011. Previously, Beiser edited international and business news for 14 years for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires in New York, London, Singapore, Brussels, and Hong Kong. She developed, launched, and managed the Asian edition of WSJ.com and led the integration of the Hong Kong newsroom's print and digital operations. She is a native of Kansas City and a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans.

Follow her on Twitter @elanabeiser.

View MoreView Less Courtney C. Radsch
ADVOCACY DIRECTOR
Courtney C. Radsch
Courtney C. Radsch

Courtney C. Radsch is the advocacy director at the Committee to Protect Journalists. As a veteran journalist, researcher, and free expression advocate she writes and speaks frequently about the intersection of media, technology, and human rights, with a particular emphasis on the Middle East. Prior to joining CPJ, she worked with UNESCO's Section for Freedom of Expression, where she coordinated the organization's strategy in the Arab region and edited the flagship publication "World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development." Radsch previously managed the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House, where she led advocacy missions to more than a dozen countries, U.N. bodies, and the Internet Governance Forum.

Radsch has worked as a journalist in the U.S. and Middle East, holding positions with Al-Arabiya in Dubai, the Daily Star in Lebanon, and The New York Times. She writes and speaks frequently about the intersection of media, technology, and human rights, with an emphasis on gender and the Middle East, and is a blogger for the Huffington Post.

Radsch holds a PhD in international relations from American University and will publish her dissertation, "Digital Dissidence & Political Change: Cyberactivism and Citizen Journalism in Egypt," as a book with Palgrave-Macmillan. She holds a master's of science in foreign service from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree Phi Betta Kappa with highest honors in mass communication from the University of California, Berkeley. She speaks Arabic, French, and Spanish.

Follow her on Twitter @courtneyr.

View MoreView Less John Weis
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND OUTREACH
John Weis
John Weis

John Weis joined CPJ in April 2004. He directs all fund-raising activities of the organization, both annual support and campaign contributions. He has a long and successful record as a fund-raiser, having most recently served as the deputy director of development at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First). Weis has held fund-raising positions at WNYC Radio, the New York Public Library, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has a B.S. in Commerce from Rider University.

View MoreView Less Sue Marcoux
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
Sue Marcoux
Sue Marcoux

Sue Marcoux joined CPJ in 2013, where she directs all finance, administrative, and human resource functions for the organization. She has worked as a finance and operations professional in nonprofit media for several years. Prior to 2006, Marcoux worked extensively in the management and production of documentary film and television for cable networks and PBS. Marcoux earned a bachelor's degree from Smith College and a master's degree in documentary film from Stanford University.

View MoreView Less Carlos Lauría
PROGRAM DIRECTOR and SENIOR PROGRAM COORDINATOR, THE AMERICAS
Carlos Lauría
Carlos Lauría

Carlos Lauría serves as chief strategist and spokesperson on press freedom issues in the Americas. He monitors and documents press freedom violations in Latin America and has led missions to Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Brazil, El Salvador, and Argentina. Lauría began his journalistic career in Buenos Aires in 1986 and settled in New York in 1994 as U.S. bureau chief correspondent for Editorial Perfil, Argentina's largest magazine publisher. He serves on the board of the Maria Moors Cabot Award for excellence in Latin American journalism, which is sponsored by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is a graduate of journalism from the Universidad Católica Argentina.

Follow him on Facebook @CPJenEspañol.

View MoreView Less María Salazar-Ferro
EMERGENCIES DIRECTOR
María Salazar-Ferro
María Salazar-Ferro

Salazar-Ferro became director of CPJ's Emergencies Department in October 2016. She oversees CPJ's assistance and safety work worldwide. She joined CPJ in 2005, and has served as coordinator for the Journalist Assistance Program and the Global Campaign Against Impunity, and as senior research associate for the Americas program. Salazar-Ferro has spearheaded international coalitions to support journalists in distress in East Africa and in Syria. She has written about exiled, missing, and murdered journalists. She has represented CPJ on missions to Mexico, Kenya, Turkey and the Philippines, among others, and served on the IFEX counsel from 2011 to 2013. Prior to joining CPJ, Salazar-Ferro worked as a researcher for the United Nations Fund for Population Aid and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and as an associate reporter for Inter-Press Services in New York. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia and a master's degree from Los Andes University in Bogotá. She is fluent in French and Spanish.

Read Maria Salazar-Ferro's blog.

View MoreView Less Angela Quintal
AFRICA PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Angela Quintal
Angela Quintal

Before joining CPJ in 2016, Angela Quintal worked as an editor and journalist for more than two decades in South Africa. She was the editor of Mail and Guardian, one of South Africa's leading investigative newspapers. She also edited The Witness and The Mercury newspapers and held several senior positions in South African newsrooms, including group political editor at the Independent Newspaper Group and parliamentary editor for the then-national news agency, the SA Press Association. Quintal changed direction from a career in human rights and constitutional law to become a journalist in 1992 during South Africa's transition to democracy. She was presidential correspondent during Nelson Mandela's term as South Africa's first democratically elected president and traveled extensively. She has served as the secretary-general and treasurer of the SA National Editors' Forum and before joining CPJ was media freedom committee chair in South Africa for Wan-Ifra's program on strengthening media and society. Quintal holds a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Laws from Rhodes University.

Follow her on Twitter @angelaquintal.

View MoreView Less Jonathan Rozen
AFRICA RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Jonathan Rozen
Jonathan Rozen

Jonathan Rozen joined the Committee to Protect Journalists in February 2017. He previously worked in South Africa, Mozambique, and Canada with the Institute for Security Studies, assessing Mozambican peacebuilding processes. As a research associate with ISS, Rozen also wrote analyses in partnership with the think tank adelphi on links between climate action and conflict prevention in Mali, Liberia, and Kenya.

Rozen was a UN correspondent for IPS News and has written for Al Jazeera English and the International Peace Institute. His work has also appeared in Global Peace Operations Review, Africa Conflict Monitor, the Wilson Center's New Security Beat, and the Daily Maverick. He is a fellow with the independent advisory enterprise Concord Consulting. Rozen has a bachelor's degree from McGill University and a master's degree from the University of Toronto, where he served as a social worker. He speaks English and French.

Follow him on Twitter @Rozen_J.

View MoreView Less Alexandra Ellerbeck
SENIOR AMERICAS AND U.S. RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Alexandra Ellerbeck
Alexandra Ellerbeck

Alexandra Ellerbeck joined CPJ in 2015. Prior to that, she worked as the senior research assistant and regional Latin America expert for Freedom House's annual publication "Freedom on the Net," which surveys Internet freedom in 65 countries. Ellerbeck served as a Fulbright teaching assistant in the State University of Pará, in northern Brazil. She has reported on environmental and social issues in Latin America, and was awarded a Mongabay fellowship to write about nonprofits and indigenous groups in Bolivia. Ellerbeck earned a bachelor's in government from Wesleyan University. She was a teaching fellow with the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education and, after graduation, worked as an intern for the Public Defenders Service for the District of Columbia. Ellerbeck has lived in Chile, Bolivia, and Brazil, and speaks Portuguese and Spanish.

View MoreView Less Natalie Southwick
AMERICAS RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Natalie Southwick
Natalie Southwick

Natalie Southwick joined CPJ as its Americas research associate in 2017. Prior to joining CPJ, she was based in Bogotá, Colombia, where she was a member of Witness for Peace's international accompaniment team, a reporting specialist with ACDI/VOCA's Afro-Colombian and Indigenous program, and the editor of a website focused on Latin American news. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Chicago Reporter, InSight Crime, RioOnWatch, and elsewhere. She has a master's degree in international human rights from the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She has lived in Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil, and speaks fluent Spanish and intermediate Portuguese.

View MoreView Less Steven Butler
ASIA PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Steven Butler
Steven Butler

Steven Butler has worked as a journalist throughout Asia, writing for the Financial Times and The Christian Science Monitor from South Korea in the mid-1980s, before joining the staff of the Financial Times and reporting in Southeast Asia, London and Tokyo, including regular reporting visits to China. He lived in Tokyo for a decade, later joining U.S. News & World Report, and returning to Washington, where he served as foreign editor at Knight Ridder's Washington bureau during the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Prior to joining CPJ in 2016, Butler served as executive director at the Institute of Current World Affairs, where he worked with institute fellows throughout the world, including in South and East Asia, and as senior editor and writer at the online magazine OZY.com. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University and has lived and worked in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China.

View MoreView Less Aliya Iftikhar
ASIA RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Aliya Iftikhar
Aliya Iftikhar

Aliya Iftikhar joined CPJ in 2017 as its Asia research associate. Prior to that, she served as a research assistant at the Middle East Institute and interned at the U.S. Department of State. She has also worked with Amnesty International and has written for Vice News. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the editor of The Badger Herald. She is fluent in Urdu and proficient in Arabic. Follow her on Twitter @aliyazeba.

View MoreView Less Nina Ognianova
EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Nina Ognianova
Nina Ognianova

Since becoming coordinator of the Europe and Central Asia Program in 2006, Nina Ognianova has led fact-finding and advocacy missions to Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Hungary and Turkey. From 2007 to 2012, Ognianova organized and participated in yearly CPJ missions to Moscow and the European Union, focusing on the issue of impunity in Russian journalist killings. She is the lead author of two major CPJ special reports - Anatomy of Injustice, issued in September 2009, which exposes flaws in the official investigations of unsolved journalist murders in Russia; and Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis, issued in October 2012, which examines the anti-press campaign under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In January 2014, she co-authored Media Suffer Winter Chill in Coverage of Sochi Olympics, a special report revealing the many restrictions for independent reporting in Russia in the lead up to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Ognianova previously worked as CPJ's Europe and Central Asia researcher. Prior to joining CPJ in December 2003, Ognianova was a staff writer for the International Journalists' Network, the media-assistance website of the nonprofit International Center for Journalists in Washington, where she covered Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Ognianova earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the American University in Bulgaria and a master's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism. Her commentaries have appeared in the Guardian of London, the International Herald Tribune, The Huffington Post, and The EU Observer, among others. Ognianova is a native Bulgarian speaker, fluent in English and Russian.

Follow her on Twitter @Kremlinologist1.

View MoreView Less Gulnoza Said
EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Gulnoza Said
Gulnoza Said

Gulnoza Said is a journalist and communications professional with over 15 years of experience in New York, Prague, Bratislava, and Tashkent. She has covered issues including politics, media, religion, and human rights with a focus on Central Asia, Russia, and Turkey.

Follow her on Twitter @gulnozas.

View MoreView Less Sherif Mansour
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Sherif Mansour
Sherif Mansour

Sherif Mansour is an Egyptian-American democracy and human rights activist. Before joining CPJ, he worked with Freedom House, in Washington, D.C., where he managed advocacy training for activists from the Middle East and North Africa. In 2010, Mansour co-founded the Egyptian Association for Change, a Washington-based nonprofit group that mobilizes Egyptians in the U.S. to support democracy and human rights in Egypt. He has monitored the Egyptian elections for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies and has worked as a freelance journalist. In 2004, he was honored by the Al-Kalema Center for Human Rights for his work in defending freedom of expression in Egypt. Mansour has authored several articles and conducted research studies on civil society and the role of the new media and civil society in achieving democracy. He was named one of the top 99 young foreign policy professionals in 2013 by the Diplomatic Courier. He received his master's in international relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and his bachelor's in education from Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He speaks Arabic fluently.

Follow him on Twitter @sherifmnsour.

View MoreView Less Justin Shilad
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Justin Shilad
Justin Shilad

Justin Shilad joined CPJ as its Middle East and North Africa research associate in 2017. He previously worked as an editor and freelance reporter, including at the Egypt Independent in Cairo, and assisted in the resettlement of refugees in Egypt and Kenya. Shilad has a bachelor's degree in international studies and literature from American University in Washington, and a master's degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Follow him on Twitter @jshilad.

View MoreView Less Nicole Schilit
JOURNALIST ASSISTANCE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Nicole Schilit
Nicole Schilit

Nicole Schilit manages the Journalist Assistance program within CPJ's Emergencies Department. She is responsible for providing direct support to journalists in distress and advocates on behalf of exiled journalists who have been forced to flee their home countries after being targeted in response to their work. Schilit works across regional programs and with a global network of partner organizations to coordinate and implement assistance strategies for journalists around the world. She has spent time in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Israel working with refugees and exiled journalists. Schilit has a background in documentary photography and prior to joining CPJ in 2012 worked on the book, Photojournalists on War, a history on the Iraq War as told by photojournalists. She has a master's in public administration from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University, a bachelor's in documentary photography from Oberlin College in Ohio, and in 2003 attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.

Follow her on Twitter @nschilit.

View MoreView Less Tom Lowenthal
STAFF TECHNOLOGIST
Tom Lowenthal
Tom Lowenthal

Tom Lowenthal, CPJ's first staff technologist, has a special interest in operational security and grassroots surveillance self-defense. A strong believer in individual privacy and personal freedom, Lowenthal has worked as project coordinator at the Tor Project and as a technologist on Mozilla's privacy and public policy team. He is also a freelance journalist, and has written for Ars Technica on security and tech policy. He earned his bachelor's in political theory, with minors in computer science and technology policy, from Princeton University. The fingerprint of his GPG public key is 1ADE 9951 1A97 95FA 3557 53DC 51E7 1B75 4A09 B187.

Follow him on Twitter @flamsmark.

View MoreView Less Ahmed Zidan
DIGITAL MANAGER
Ahmed Zidan
Ahmed Zidan

Ahmed Zidan joined CPJ in 2017 as its digital manager. Prior to that, he was the social media editor of Radio Netherlands Worldwide, where he worked between Hilversum and New York. He was also a reporter and contributor to the Arabic desk at RNW (Huna Sotak) on tech, social media, and social and political issues in the U.S. and the Middle East, and was the editor of ArabNet, where he wrote about entrepreneurship and startups. Zidan was the editor of Mideast Youth (MEY), a digital platform that advocates for freedom of speech and expression and defends minorities in the MENA region, which won the 2011 Best of Blogs (BOBs) Award from Deutsche Welle. Zidan has a bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery from Cairo University. He is fluent in Arabic and English.

View MoreView Less Mehdi Rahmati
SOCIAL MEDIA ASSOCIATE
Mehdi Rahmati
Mehdi Rahmati

Mehdi Rahmati joined CPJ in 2013 as its Office and IT Manager. He has since joined the Advocacy and Communications team and is currently serving as the Communication Associate. While at CPJ, Mehdi has obtained his Master's degree in International Relation from American University. He obtained his Bachelor's degree from Bard College where he studied Human Rights. Prior to joining CPJ, Mehdi has interned at Human Rights Watch and Open Society Foundations, where later he also worked as a consultant. Mehdi grew up in Afghanistan where he co-founded a school and taught classes. He is fluent in English and his native language, Dari (Farsi).

View MoreView Less Natalie Meltzer
PROGRAM MANAGER
Natalie Meltzer
Natalie Meltzer

Natalie Meltzer joined CPJ in 2017 as program manager, where she provides programmatic, operational, and research support to all CPJ programs. Prior to CPJ, Meltzer worked as the grants manager at the New-York Historical Society, where she stewarded a portfolio of more than 50 foundation, government, and corporate supporters and identified new funding prospects. She has also worked at the New York Legal Assistance Group and at the Cornell University Labor Studies Department, where she analyzed documents to determine international standards for public employees' collective bargaining rights. Meltzer was a fellow at the Cornell Global Labor Institute and interned at the International Labor Organization in Geneva. She has a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and studied at Central European University in Budapest.

View MoreView Less Kerry Paterson
SENIOR ADVOCACY AND COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER
Kerry Paterson
Kerry Paterson

Prior to joining CPJ in 2014, Kerry Paterson worked with the Initiative for Conflict-Related Trauma in Northern Ireland, where she consulted on a project to develop a mobile platform to deliver mental health services for trauma and PTSD to people in war zones and refugee camps. She has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières, the Women's Media Center's Women Under Siege, Ujenzi Trust, The Lupina Foundation, Harvard University, and Massachusetts General Hospital's Division of Global Health and Human Rights, and has engaged in health and human rights-related work and research in Latin America, East and Central Africa, and the Balkans. Paterson was an associate editor of the Journal for International Law and International Relations, an inaugural Munk One Fellow, and has worked with the Global Justice Lab to examine the manipulation of law by perpetrators of violence against women. She holds a master's in global affairs from the University of Toronto, and has an honors degree in peace and conflict studies and political science, which focused on the experiences of women in war. She is fluent in French.

Follow her on Twitter @kerrykpaterson.

View MoreView Less Ashley Parent
COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE
Ashley Parent
Ashley Parent

Ashley Parent joined CPJ in 2015 as its communications associate. Prior to working at CPJ, Parent interned at the Clinton Foundation and Amnesty International USA and traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and Europe. While working as the operations manager for Reboot, an international development consulting firm, she traveled to Nigeria to develop and implement corporate field work policies. Parent is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and holds a master's in Middle Eastern studies from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she researched the effects of oil companies' public relations outreach on domestic public opinion. She speaks Arabic and American Sign Language.

View MoreView Less Jessica Jerreat
SENIOR EDITOR
Jessica Jerreat
Jessica Jerreat

Jessica Jerreat joined CPJ as senior editor in 2014. She worked previously as a chief copy editor and lead editor, including five years of editing foreign news for The Times in London, followed by a period at The Telegraph on the paper's weekend editions and syndication desk. In 2012, Jerreat was lead editor for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha, where she was responsible for setting up and running the host country's newsroom. She has experience in print, online, and tablet editing and design, and has also worked as a reporter in New York City. Jerreat has a bachelor's in English and American literature, and a master's from the University of Kent at Canterbury's Center for the Study of War, Propaganda and Society, where she earned a distinction for her thesis, Propaganda, The Press and Conflict: The Korean War.

Follow her on Twitter @jessicajerreat.

View MoreView Less Elijah Zarwan
NEWS EDITOR
Elijah Zarwan
Elijah Zarwan

Prior to joining the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2015, Elijah Zarwan worked as an analyst and researcher at the European Council on Foreign Relations, International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch, Harvard University Law School, and others, based mostly in Cairo, London, and New York. In addition to his work as a consultant to IHS, the Carter Center, and Transparency International, he also worked as a senior Middle East correspondent for Deutsche Presse-agentur, as Egypt correspondent for France 24, as managing editor of the newsweekly Cairo, and as online editor for World Press Review. He speaks Arabic and French, and studied history at McGill University.

View MoreView Less Mustafa Hameed
MULTIMEDIA PRODUCER
Mustafa Hameed
Mustafa Hameed

Mustafa Hameed joined the Committee to Protect Journalists in July 2016 as the organization's first multimedia producer. Previously, he worked as a news editor and producer at ABC News in New York, working on both the international and domestic news desks in addition to spells with ABC's investigative reporting team and Good Morning America. Prior to that, Hameed served as a researcher for Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steve Coll, dean of Columbia Journalism School. Hameed graduated with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and linguistics and a master's of science in journalism, both from Columbia University, and has worked on several documentary films as a producer and editor. He is fluent in Urdu-Hindi and proficient in French.

View MoreView Less Shazdeh Omari
SENIOR PROGRAM OFFICER
Shazdeh Omari
Shazdeh Omari

Shazdeh Omari joined CPJ in 2011 and served as deputy editor for news and later news editor, before joining the development department in 2015. She was the copy chief at The Village Voice for four years and has worked as a reporter, writer, editor, medical editor, and copy editor in the United States and Greece. Prior to her career in publishing, she taught English at Western Connecticut State University and reported, wrote, and produced radio features as an intern at United Nations Radio. Omari was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, where she learned to read, speak, and write Urdu. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and sociology and a master's degree in English-TESOL.

Follow her on Twitter @shazdehz.

View MoreView Less Peldun Tenzing
DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE
Peldun Tenzing
Peldun Tenzing

Tenzing graduated from Emory University in 2013 with a major in international studies and a minor in Arabic. She first joined CPJ in 2014 as its development assistant/board liaison, where she worked on the organization's development projects and managed board relations. She also served as the assistant to the executive director. Prior to working at CPJ, Tenzing interned at Human Rights Watch and Foreign Policy Association. Like many young Tibetans in the West, she spent her early years of childhood in Nepal and India. She later moved to the United States.

View MoreView Less Tanya Somasundaram
DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT
Tanya Somasundaram
Tanya Somasundaram

Tanya Somasundaram joined CPJ as a development assistant in 2016. She completed her master's degree in media studies at The New School in August 2016. In 2013, she obtained her bachelor's in communications at John Cabot University in Rome, where she lived and studied for four years. Prior to joining CPJ, she did nonprofit work in the Washington, D.C., area and spent time as an intern in film and production in New York.

View MoreView Less Jake Rothenberg
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
Jake Rothenberg
Jake Rothenberg

Jake Rothenberg joined CPJ in 2017 as its executive assistant. Prior to joining CPJ, he worked as an intern at the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, where he responded to civil liberties complaints and provided research for the organization's campaign for a civilian police oversight committee in Newark, New Jersey. He also interned at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, where he compiled research on the company's 20-year growth in the digital advertising industry. Rothenberg has a bachelor's degree with honors in philosophy, politics, and economics from the University of Michigan.

View MoreView Less Margaret Abam-DePass
BUSINESS AND ACCOUNTING MANAGER
Margaret Abam-DePass
Margaret Abam-DePass

Margaret Abam-DePass, CPJ's business and accounting manager, has worked in not-for-profit organizations for 15 years. Prior to joining CPJ in 2010, she worked as a staff accountant at both the PEN American Center in New York and at Friends of Firefighters, a Brooklyn-based organization. She also spent eight years as the office manager for the New York-based Association for Business Communication. A native of Cameroon, Abam-DePass received her bachelor's in accounting from Kean University in New Jersey.

View MoreView Less Karen Lourdes Sepulveda
OFFICE AND IT ASSISTANT
Karen Lourdes Sepulveda
Karen Lourdes Sepulveda

Karen Lourdes Sepulveda joined the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2017 as its Office and IT Assistant. She provides support for all office operations, manages CPJ's front desk and reception area, and acts as the primary contact between CPJ and outside service vendors. Prior to working at CPJ, Sepulveda worked as the receptionist and program director assistant of the girls' organization Curious Jane. She received her bachelor's of science in liberal studies at the New School, where she also worked as a first-year student adviser, and has a conservatory certificate in studio acting and performing arts from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. She is fluent in Spanish.

View MoreView Less Ramy Ghaly
JAMES W. FOLEY FELLOW
Ramy Ghaly
Ramy Ghaly

Ramy Ghaly joined CPJ's Emergencies Response Team in 2017 as its inaugural Foley Fellow, a position that was created in honor of freelance conflict journalist James Foley, with support from the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation. Prior to the role, Ghaly worked as an intern in CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program. He has extensive experience in combat-related emergency medical care. As an infantry medic with the U.S. Marine Corps, he was deployed to conflict zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. He worked as an editor on the State Department's 2015 International Religious Freedom Report, and has consulted with deployed U.S. Navy personnel as a MENA language and culture adviser. Ghaly received his bachelor's degree in homeland security and has an executive master's in international service from American University. He is fluent in Arabic.

International Program Network

View MoreView Less Tom Gibson
EUROPEAN UNION REPRESENTATIVE AND ADVOCACY MANAGER
Tom Gibson
Tom Gibson

Tom Gibson joined the Committee to Protect Journalists in January 2017 and is CPJ's lead advocate in Brussels covering the institutions of the European Union.

Between 2014 and 2016, Gibson managed Protection International's Burundi and Congo desks, advocating for stronger state accountability for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists as well as developing emergency responses and protection measures.

Previously, he worked in Amnesty International's Africa program from 2005 to 2014, based in London and Nairobi. He worked as a campaigner on the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa regions, and then as a researcher on the Great Lakes. In both roles, he was responsible for leading the international response when journalists were harassed, intimidated, detained, or killed, engaging with state authorities in the region as well as with governments and multilateral organizations in Brussels, Geneva, London, Paris, and Washington. He is the author of numerous Amnesty International reports and publications on human rights abuses including crimes under international law and violations relating to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. He is fluent in French and is a graduate from the University of Sussex.

View MoreView Less Colin Pereira
JOURNALIST SAFETY SPECIALIST
Colin Pereira
Colin Pereira

Pereira serves as CPJ's chief strategist on journalist safety. For more than 15 years, he has worked to shape the risk management model for journalists operating under threat. He is a Director at HP Risk Management, a consultancy assisting companies and media organisations operating in fragile environments.

Previously he was head of security for ITN and Deputy Head of BBC High Risk Team. Pereira has advised teams of journalists covering wars, natural disasters, terrorism and riots globally, and has worked on high risk investigations. Colin Pereira was also a journalist for BBC Newsnight and BBC Current Affairs.

View MoreView Less Elisabeth Witchel
CONSULTANT, CAMPAIGN AGAINST IMPUNITY
Elisabeth Witchel
Elisabeth Witchel

Elisabeth Witchel has more than 15 years' experience in human rights and international journalism. She began working at the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2001 as the Journalist Assistance Program Coordinator, and in 2007, she launched CPJ's Global Campaign against Impunity. Witchel has authored several reports for CPJ, including Road to Justice:Breaking the Cycle of Impunity in the Killing of Journalists five editions of Getting Away with Murder: Global Impunity Index; three editions of CPJ's Survey of Journalists in Exile; 2004's The Fixers; and 2005's Zimbabwe's Exiled Press. Witchel, who is now based in the United Kingdom and serves as CPJ's Impunity Campaign Consultant, has presented at international forums, including UNESCO, and served on panels in London, Geneva, Belgrade, Paris, Manila, and New York. Prior to joining CPJ, she worked at Grassroots Enterprise in San Francisco and reported from Seoul, Korea, for The Korea Times and US News & World Report. Witchel has a bachelor's in history from Stanford University and a master's in International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

Follow her on Twitter @goodwitch917.

View MoreView Less Frank Smyth
SENIOR ADVISER FOR JOURNALIST SECURITY
Frank Smyth
Frank Smyth

Frank Smyth serves as CPJ's senior adviser for journalist security. He is a journalist who has specialized in armed conflicts, organized crime, and human rights, reporting from nations including El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Jordan, and Iraq where, in 1991, he was imprisoned for 18 days. Through the 1990s Smyth investigated arms trafficking for Human Rights Watch. He has reported for CBS News, and written for The Nation, The Village Voice, The New Republic, The Washington Post,The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, World Policy Journal, and Foreign Affairs. Smyth has testified on press freedom matters before the Organization of American States, the International Commission of Jurists, and the U.S. Congress. Smyth blogs on journalist security issues for CPJ. He is also the founder and executive director of Global Journalist Security, a firm that provides consulting and training services to journalists and others.

Follow him on Twitter @JournoSecurity.
Read Frank Smyth's blog.

View MoreView Less Özgür Öğret
TURKEY REPRESENTATIVE
Özgür Öğret
Özgür Öğret

Özgür Öğret is a Turkish freelance journalist and CPJ's Turkey representative. He was lead researcher for the 2012 CPJ special report, Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis.

View MoreView Less Shawn W. Crispin
SENIOR SOUTHEAST ASIA REPRESENTATIVE
Shawn W. Crispin
Shawn W. Crispin

Shawn W. Crispin has worked as a journalist and editor for over 15 years based in Thailand. He was bureau chief for the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review in Bangkok from 1999 to 2004, where he wrote on a wide range of political, business, and social issues. From 2001, Crispin also served as bureau chief for the Review's sister publication, The Asian Wall Street Journal. His coverage of Asia's AIDS epidemic was part of a package recognized in 2004 for the "Excellence in Magazines" award of the Society of Publishers in Asia. From 2006 to 2015, Crispin served as Southeast Asia editor at Asia Times Online, where he wrote a regular political column and edited a team of over 20 regular contributors to the news site. Crispin is currently Southeast Asia columnist at The Diplomat. His journalism has also appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Institutional Investor and Yale Global Online, among others. In 2005, Crispin served as an investigative consultant with Human Rights Watch (Asia), where he researched press freedom issues in Thailand. for the past decade, he has served CPJ as advocate, researcher and spokesperson on Southeast Asia. He has conducted research missions and published special reports on Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Crispin has a master's degree in Southeast Asian Studies and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, where he received a prestigious Freeman fellowship. He speaks fluent Thai.

View MoreView Less Andrew Downie
BRAZIL CORRESPONDENT
Andrew Downie
Andrew Downie

Andrew Downie has covered Brazil for the CPJ since the start of 2015. He documents abuses in South America's biggest nation and writes alerts and blogs. Downie was born in Scotland and has been in Latin America for 25 years and reported from more than a dozen countries in the region. He lived in Mexico and Haiti before moving to Brazil in 1999. His work has appeared in publications the world over, including The New York Times, The Economist, The Guardian, The Washington Post, GQ and Esquire. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and currently lives in Sao Paulo.

Follow him on Twitter at @adowniebrazil

View MoreView Less Ignacio Miguel Delgado Culebras
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA CORRESPONDENT
Ignacio Miguel Delgado Culebras
Ignacio Miguel Delgado Culebras

Ignacio Miguel Delgado Culebras has worked as a freelance journalist throughout the Middle East, writing for publications in Belgium, Romania, Spain, and the United States on civil society, democratization, and human rights issues. He served as a media analyst for the Open Source Center's Europe bureau for nine years and worked as a researcher, editor, and election monitor for the Cairo-based Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Prior to joining CPJ in 2017, he worked as a lecturer in journalism at the Polytechnic University of Duhok. He earned his master's in journalism from the Complutense University of Madrid and speaks Arabic, German, Romanian, and Spanish.

View MoreView Less Jan-Albert Hootsen
MEXICO CORRESPONDENT
Jan-Albert Hootsen
Jan-Albert Hootsen

Jan-Albert Hootsen is a Dutch journalist based in Mexico City. He is CPJ's Mexico correspondent and works as a correspondent for the Dutch newspaper Trouw and America Magazine. He also regularly contributes to the Dutch television station RTL Nieuws and Dutch public radio.

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