Letters to CPJ
CPJ comes to the aid of journalists who have been attacked, imprisoned, censored, or harassed. The Committee fights to get journalists out of jail and lets those who are being persecuted for their reporting know that CPJ and others are working on their behalf.
- “The other day when Serb police in Republika Srpska were stomping on me with their boots, and shoving their machine guns in my face, and taking my camera, and snatching important videotape material on the cassette inside my camera, I was thinking, Jesus! What do I do now? I have nobody here to help me.’ I don’t have a major news organization covering my back. But CPJ was there to bail me out, winning back my camera and forcing the release of IFOR’s video material of the attack … Your letters to NATO and IFOR sent a serious reminder to Serb police, IFOR, and all concerned that journalists working in Bosnia must be allowed freedom of movement at all times.”
—Mike Kirsch, free-lance TV journalist, Austria, October 1996
- “My release would not have been possible without the relentless international press battle waged on my behalf by CPJ. I am indeed very grateful for CPJ’s unqualified and unstinting support for me and my organization, [which] is still facing harassment by the security agents of the Gen. Sani Abacha military junta.”
—Nosa Igiebor, editor in chief, Tell, Nigeria, June 1996
- “I am extremely grateful to you for the concern you showed over my abduction by JK Ikhwan militia on July 8. The organizations like CPJ, I believe, are rendering a yeoman’s service to the community…”
—S. Shujaat Bukhari, reporter, Kashmir (India), August 1996
- “You should know that if not for CPJ’s letter, Panorama would be dead now. I know from personal sources that President [Franjo] Tudjman’s office decided to reopen our offices only after they received your letter.”
—Slaven Letica, reporter, Panorama, Croatia, May 1996
- “Please let me thank you and the other members of CPJ’s staff for your struggle for our release. I have received one month ago a letter containing my CPJ membership card. I was so happy. After that, two weeks ago, we received the three packets you sent us. Your personal letter brought so much to me.”
—Freedom Neruda, deputy editor, La Voie. Letter sent from Maca Prison, Cote d’Ivoire, August 1996
- “I have traveled extensively along the west coast of Africa and have come to know how journalists appreciate CPJ…[W]e get to hear and perceive how the dictators that litter our continent also read your organization. Basically the typical African tyrant considers you an irritant and an endless pain. But that is the clearest evidence of your relevance and the testimony that your concerns are rooted in the heart of the people who bear the yoke of this monstrous affliction on a daily basis.
As I try to settle into a new pattern here, still wondering if this freedom is actually real, I want to thank you and your team of wonderful men and women who have chosen the thankless task of bringing relief to thousands of souls the world over. I also want you to know that even when we do not seem to convey this point well enough, we are always immeasurably grateful. By the example of organizations like yours, the world certainly promises to become a better place to live in…”
—Dapo Olorunyomi, editor in chief, The News, Nigeria, March 1996.
CPJ helped Olorunyomi get asylum in the United States after he was named as one of 40 people allegedly involved in plotting a coup. Several of his colleagues were charged with treason and given prison sentences of up to 15 years in connection with the alleged plot.