CPJ at a Glance


The Committee to Protect Journalists is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1981 to monitor abuses against the press and promote press freedom around the world.

How did CPJ get started?
A group of U.S. journalists founded CPJ in 1981 to respond to the often brutal treatment of their foreign colleagues by authoritarian governments and other enemies of independent journalism.

Who runs CPJ?
CPJ has a full-time staff of 15 and five part-time research and editorial staffers at its New York headquarters, including an area specialist for each major world region. The committee's activities are directed by a 31-member board of prominent U.S. journalists.

How is CPJ funded?
CPJ depends on private donations from journalists, news organizations and independent foundations. CPJ accepts no government funding.

The press is powerful; why does it need protection?
The press in the United States does have great power and enjoys legal protection. But that is not the case in most countries. Scores of journalists are imprisoned every year because of what they have reported. Hundreds more are routinely subjected to physical attack, illegal detention, spurious legal action and threats against themselves or their families. And, on average, at least one journalist is killed every week somewhere in the world. Even in the United States, journalists have been murderedÑin New York; California; Florida; Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Colorado; and Arizona.

How does CPJ protect journalists?
By publicly revealing abuses against the press and by acting on behalf of imprisoned and threatened journalists, CPJ effectively warns journalists and news organizations where attacks on press freedom are likely to occur. CPJ organizes vigorous protest at all levels, ranging from local governments to the United Nations, and, when necessary, works behind the scenes through other diplomatic channels to effect change. CPJ also publishes articles and news releases, special reports, a quarterly newsletter and the most comprehensive annual report on attacks against the press around the world.

Where does CPJ get its information?
Through its own reporting. CPJ has full-time program coordinators monitoring the press in the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. They track developments through their own independent research, fact-finding missions and firsthand contacts in the field, including reports from other journalists. CPJ shares information on breaking cases with other press freedom organizations worldwide through the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (lFEX), a global E-mail network.

When would a journalist call upon CPJ?
In an emergency. Using local contacts, CPJ can intervene whenever foreign correspondents are in trouble. CPJ is also prepared to immediately notify news organizations, government officials, and human rights organizations of press freedom violations.

When traveling on assignment. CPJ maintains a database of local journalist contacts around the world. CPJ also publishes practical "safety guides" that offer advice to journalists covering dangerous assignments.

When covering the news. Attacks against the press are news, and they often serve as the first signal of a crackdown on all freedoms. CPJ is uniquely situated to provide journalists with information and insight into press conditions around the world.

When becoming a member. A basic membership costs only US$35, and each donation helps assure that CPJ will be there to defend you or a colleague if the need arises. Members receive CPJ's quarterly newsletter, Dangerous Assignments, and a discount on other publications.

How can I contact CPJ?