CPJ Events

Press Freedom in Ethiopia, Paraguay, Malaysia, and Syria: A Dialogue with CPJ's 2015 International Press Freedom Awardees

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Senate Human Rights Caucus for a briefing and dialogue with the 2015 recipients of the Committee to Protect Journalists International Press Freedom Award.

Journalists foster accountability through their reporting on politics, crime, corruption and human rights abuses. However, in many countries journalists work in a climate of fear, intimidation and censorship generated by repressive governments and, increasingly, by illegal non-state actors and criminal organizations.

Each year, the Committee to Protect Journalists recognizes courageous journalists from around the world with its International Press Freedom Award. The 2015 awardees are all from countries where press freedom is under stark attack:

• Zone 9 bloggers (Ethiopia)
• Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, "Zunar" (Malaysia)
• Cándido Figueredo Ruíz (Paraguay)
• Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (Syria)

These journalists have endured death threats, physical attacks, legal harassment, imprisonment, and exile in the course of their work. They will share their insights and concerns about the state of media freedom in their respective countries, and provide recommendations as to how the U.S. government, and especially the Congress, can strengthen and support media freedom in an increasingly contentious and conflict-ridden world.


Candido Figueredo Ruiz, Paraguay
Abdel Aziz Al-Hamza, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, Syria
Soleyana Gebrichael, Zone 9 Bloggers, Ethiopia
Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, "Zunar," Malaysia


Dr. Courtney C. Radsch, Committee to Protect Journalists

Opening Remarks

Congressman James McGovern, Co-Chair, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

November 19, 2015

Demonizing Dissidents: How INTERPOL is being abused by dictatorships

Next month, Fair Trials is hosting an event in Washington, D.C. with Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute, examining the way that INTERPOL is being misused by countries around the world to persecute refugees, journalists and peaceful political demonstrators, to devastating effect.

In recent years, the use of INTERPOL's "wanted person" alerts has expanded vastly with over 120,000 now circulating across the globe. Unfortunately, as it has become easier for countries to obtain INTERPOL Red Notices, some have been used as an instrument for silencing dissent and exporting repression with devastating consequences.

Join us to discuss how INTERPOL is starting to address this problem which has been undermining its reputation as the global "good guys" in the fight against crime, and hear from people whose lives have been turned upside down by Red Notices, including:

Sherif Mansour, an Egyptian-American democracy and human rights activist working for the Committee to Protect Journalists, who was one of the 43 NGO workers charged in Egypt of operating without a license and receiving foreign funding, as part of a crackdown on independent civil society groups in the country.

The INTERPOL alert that followed was described by the US government as "politically motivated".

Benny Wenda, a West Papuan tribal leader who leads an international campaign for the people of West Papua. Due to his activities he was persecuted by the Indonesian government, subjected to torture and a politically-motivated prosecution before escaping and receiving asylum in Europe.

Despite being a recognised refugee, Benny found himself with a public Red Notice against him.

Lutfullo Shamsutdinov, a human rights activist and witness of the Andijan massacre. He was forced to escape Uzbekistan after reporting on the massacre, and was later granted asylum in the US.

He has been hunted since 2005 by the Uzbek authorities, who convinced INTERPOL to issue a warrant to detain him. Due to an INTERPOL alert, Lutfullo's life was put on hold for five years, unable to get a Green Card, and with it the right to work or travel in the US.

Patricia Poleo - an award-winning anti-corruption journalist and vocal critic of Hugo Chavez, subject to a Red Notice from Venezuela. Patricia had been brought before military tribunals several times within Venezuela, prompting the Inter-American Commission to recommend that measures be taken to ensure her safety.

Patricia was given asylum in the U.S. but was arrested on a trip to Peru due to a Red Notice.

November 9, 2015

National Impunity Day in Nairobi

On November 2, CPJ and Article 19 will host an event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi for the International Day to End Impunity. Tom Rhodes, CPJ's East Africa representative, will speak on a panel with representatives from Article 19, the Media Council of Kenya and journalists from Kenya, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.

November 2, 2015

Stop the killing of journalists! Prevention and justice to end impunity event

Taking place on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, UNESCO; along with Centre for the Freedom of the Media (CFOM) - Sheffield University; PEN International; and Article 19 will host journalists, international lawyers, human rights figures and policymakers to share their understanding of the acute situation regarding the issue of impunity for crimes against journalists, as well as potential responses from each of the actors involved.

The event will involve two panels, one including first-hand accounts of violence and impunity as well as reflections on the causes of impunity in conflict and non-conflict areas/situations and a second focusing on representative cases, shortcomings in state responses, justice systems and political accountability, as well as suggested courses of action to combat and end impunity.

November 2, 2015

New Strategies in Defense of Global Press Freedoms

U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Richard Stengel will discuss new strategies in defense of global press freedom. The event will include a panel with Agnes Callamard (Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression), Ann Cooper (International Director at Columbia Journalism School), Joel Simon (Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists) and Columbia Journalism School Dean, Steve Coll. Refreshments will be served.

This event is sponsored by Columbia Journalism School Global. To join the conversation online, please use #CJSGLOBAL

November 2, 2015

Open Government Partnership Global Summit

On October 28, join Carlos Lauría and Joel Simon at a panel on press freedom and open government at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit. The panel will feature a debate about press freedom in Mexico and will be moderated by CPJ's executive director Joel Simon. The discussion will take place in a "fishbowl" format with several participants including Norma Trujillo, Daniela Pastrana, Mariclaire Acosta, Francisco Goldman, Alejandro Páez Varela and a representative of the Mexican government.

October 28, 2015

All that glitters is not gold - The state of media freedom in the EU

In Germany, the editors of the political blog netzpolitik.org were recently accused of treason; in Hungary internal censorship is becoming increasingly common as pro-government media enjoy preferential treatment; in Spain, a highly controversial security law, known as the "Gag Law," evokes fears that journalists can no longer freely report from demonstrations.

What is the state of media freedom in the EU? How do surveillance and data retention laws influence journalists' working condition? Which role do nationalist politicians play in eroding press freedom in their countries?

While media freedom is enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the EU institutions have few tools to effectively counter attacks on media freedom. What is the way forward, how can we make sure that - in terms of media freedom - all that glitters is gold?

Hans H. Stein Director European Dialogue Programme, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

Jean-Paul Marthoz EU Correspondent, Committee to Protect Journalists Author of "Balancing Act: Press Freedom at risk as EU struggles to match action with values"

Krisztina Stump Deputy Head of Unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission György Petöcz Journalist, Freedom Foundation Hungary

Lorenzo Consoli Journalist, Former chair, Association de la Presse Internationale

Niklaus Nuspliger Brussels Correspondent, Neue Züricher Zeitung

October 22, 2015

(Self-) censorship: how free are we really? Media freedom and censorship in 21st century Europe

The European Youth Media Days (EYMD) are the first Europe-wide forum that involves, connects, informs and encourages young media makers to be in the heart of the European integration process. The EYMD are an innovative, intercultural and outcome-focussed multimedia event.

Panel discussion: (Self-) censorship: how free are we really? Media freedom and censorship in 21st century Europe

MEP Marietje Schaake (ALDE, Netherlands)

Anna Saraste, EYP board member and coordinator of the project "Free our Media"

Jean-Paul Marthoz, Committee to Protect Journalists' EU Correspondent

Vytis Jurkonis, Freedom House, Director of the Europe office

Moderator: Milena Stosic, EYP board member

October 21, 2015

Reporting the Refugee Crisis

During the past few weeks the media all over Europe have been extensively reporting on the refugee and migrant crisis. Despite most of them reporting responsibly, a number of questions have been raised about the limits of publishing sensitive images. The debate will focus on the importance of ethical reporting, the roles and responsibilities of media and journalists in countering stereotypes and hate speech in traditional and online media.

Join the European Broadcasting Union and the European Federation of Journalists for a moderated panel discussion followed by a Q&A. The panel will be moderated by Committee to Protect Journalists EU Correspondent, Jean-Paul Marthoz. The panellists will discuss whether it's feasible to factually tell a human-focused story that is highly emotional, without sensationalism and dehumanising migrants and refugees and, if so, how to do so.


Nicola Frank, EBU Head of European Affairs

Ricardo Guttierez, EFJ Secretary-General


Jean-Paul Marthoz, Committee to Protect Journalists EU Correspondent


Ana Gomez, MEP

Alain Genestair, editor in chief of Polska magazine.

October 20, 2015

Stifling the Public Sphere: Media and Civil Society in Egypt, Russia, and Vietnam

Civil society and independent media play crucial roles in effective public policy-making and for improving public discourse. In countries such as Egypt, Russia, and Vietnam, it is clear that encouraging the development of civil society and independent media would help improve the quality of decision making on public policy, address rampant corruption, and more generally tackle the serious social and economic problems that each society faces. However, in these three cases, repression of civil society and the media is not just severe, but getting worse. These regimes' political priorities compel them to systematically crack down on the very institutions that are essential for meaningful reform and economic progress.

To better understand the current environment for media and civil society in three key countries, the International Forum for Democratic Studies has produced "Stifling the Public Sphere: Media and Civil Society in Egypt, Russia, and Vietnam." This report finds that while state-imposed limits on freedom of expression and association have produced an undeniably grim environment in all three cases, the existence of a powerful underlying desire for better information and more responsive governance remains. Please join us as report authors Zachary Abuza, Sherif Mansour, and Maria Snegovaya discuss how independent voices in these three countries are adapting to resist authoritarian repression.

Moderated by Christopher Walker, Executive Director, International Forum for Democratic Studies, the panelists include:

Zachary Abuza, Professor, National War College

Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists

Maria Snegovaya, PhD Candidate in Political Science, Columbia University, and Columnist, Vedomosti

October 15, 2015