CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Frank Smyth

Frank Smyth is CPJ’s senior adviser for journalist security. He has reported on armed conflicts, organized crime, and human rights from nations including El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Cuba, Rwanda, Uganda, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Jordan, and Iraq. Follow him on Twitter @JournoSecurity.

2012


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Combat deaths at a high, risks shift for journalists

December 18, 2012 12:00 AM ET

Murder is the leading cause of work-related deaths among journalists worldwide--and this year was no exception. But the death toll in 2012 continued a recent shift in the nature of journalist fatalities worldwide. More journalists were killed in combat situations in 2012 than in any year since 1992, when...

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Will UN plan address impunity, security for journalists?

November 13, 2012 1:31 PM ET

Here are the facts:A journalist is killed in the line of duty somewhere around the world once every eight days.Nearly three out of four are targeted for murder. The rest are killed in the crossfire of combat, or on dangerous assignments such as street protests.Local journalists constitute the large...

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CIA case highlights need for digital security

October 24, 2012 1:49 PM ET

Few cases better underscore the need for digital security among journalists. On Tuesday, ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou pleaded guilty to leaking the identity of another CIA operative to Matthew Cole, a journalist formerly with an ABC News investigative team. In a 2007 interview with ABC, Kiriakou became the first...

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Finding common cause from first online journalist murder

October 12, 2012 2:36 PM ET

The first online journalist killed for his work disappeared one night 12 years ago in the Ukraine. Georgy Gongadze, 31, left a colleague's house to return home to his wife and two young children. He never arrived. Seven weeks later, a farmer, a few hours' drive away, discovered the journalist's headless...

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In Cryptocat, lessons for technologists and journalists

September 11, 2012 12:12 PM ET

Alhamdulillah! Finally, a technologist designed a security tool that everyone could use. A Lebanese-born, Montreal-based computer scientist, college student, and activist named Nadim Kobeissi had developed a cryptography tool, Cryptocat, for the Internet that seemed as easy to use as Facebook Chat but was presumably far more secure....

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Mexico must back up federal measure to protect press

August 17, 2012 9:43 AM ET

Using guns, grenades, explosives, and other deadly means, criminals have assaulted four Mexican newsrooms in less than six weeks. One of the country's top journalists, Lydia Cacho, was the target of a chilling death threat last month. Journalists in Veracruz have gone missing or been killed this year. Press...

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Stressed out: How should newsrooms handle trauma?

July 27, 2012 1:49 PM ET

The rampage inside a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and injured dozens more is the most recent reminder that a journalist anywhere can face sudden, great emotional stress. Any story involving tragedy--from domestic violence to natural disasters--can inflict an emotional toll on field journalists. The very empathy...

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Bossa Nova's home and Olympics host is risky for press

July 13, 2012 3:14 PM ET

The jagged mountains ringing Rio de Janeiro descend to a temperate valley with two storied beaches on the Atlantic. Here is the city that gave the world a new, eclectic musical beat with the Bossa Nova, the South American jewel that will host the summer Olympic Games in 2016....

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Skype Trojan targets Syrian citizen journalists, activists

June 20, 2012 3:25 PM ET

The Russian manufacturer promises results. The software can be used to control your own or, say, a customer's computer by making it a remote software client. Or it could be used for spying on others....

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Free expression in Americas goes beyond left or right

May 31, 2012 3:47 PM ET

On Sunday the general assembly of the Organization of American States will convene in Bolivia in the verdant, highland valley city of Cochabamba. The 35 member states (every nation in the region except Cuba) are expected to vote on a measure that, if passed, could curtail free expression and press...

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Solidarity, a key to security, eludes Salvadoran press

May 25, 2012 10:16 AM ET

No other journalists are remembered quite like this. Visitors looking through the glass display at the Monsignor Romero Center & Martyrs Museum in San Salvador see the pajamas and other clothes that three Jesuit university priests were wearing when they were shot down by automatic rifle fire. A series...

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Should J-School grads just get up and go overseas?

May 10, 2012 1:05 PM ET

The guidance is hardly clear. At a Columbia University event last week pegged to the release of the new CPJ Journalist Security Guide, one journalism student said he and his classmates are getting contradictory advice. Many J-school professors, he said, have encouraged him and others to just get up,...

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Why journalists need new ways to stay safe

April 26, 2012 6:00 PM ET

After the Salvadoran online newsmagazine El Faro exposed a secret government deal with criminal gangs last month, its staff faced repercussions that illustrate the new and complicated risks facing journalists worldwide. El Faro's report, which said the government provided more lenient treatment of imprisoned gangsters in exchange for the...

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From Small World, timely advice on safe satphone use

March 13, 2012 2:43 PM ET

Journalists and technologists often speak different languages. But a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit, Small World News, is bridging the gap with a new guide on the safe use of satellite phones. It comes at a critical time. The group's Guide to Safely Using Satphones just went online, less than three...

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Caveat utilitor: Satellite phones can always be tracked

February 24, 2012 6:03 PM ET

The Telegraph in London was the first to report that Syrian government forces could have "locked on" to satellite phone signals to launch the rocket attacks that killed journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik, as well as many Syrian civilians, besides wounding dozens more including two more international journalists. Working...

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To quote Marie Colvin: 'What is bravery, and what bravado?'

February 23, 2012 11:30 AM ET

Not since the worst period of the Iraq war, or in the Balkans the decade before, have so many storied journalists been killed or seriously injured in such a short period of time. Inevitably, the spate of deaths leaves many journalists asking questions about whether and how much they are...

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For journalists, cyber-security training slow to take hold

January 27, 2012 3:57 PM ET

For centuries, journalists have been willing to go to prison to protect their sources. Back in 1848, New York Herald correspondent John Nugent spent a month in jail for refusing to tell a U.S. Senate committee his source for a leak exposing the secret approval of a treaty with Mexico....

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Can't an aspiring war correspondent get some fresh advice?

January 10, 2012 5:52 PM ET

My role has changed. Over the past decade, I handled both Washington advocacy and journalist security issues for CPJ. Now I focus exclusively on the latter. Today's entry is the first in what will be a regular look at the dangers journalists face worldwide and the resources available to address...

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