New Executive Director
CPJ welcomed Ann K. Cooper as executive director on July 1. Cooper spent nine years as a reporter for National Public Radio, most recently as United Nations correspondent.
SPJ Honors CPJ
CPJ has received the First Amendment Award of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) for “extraordinarily strong efforts to preserve and strengthen the First Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution. The award honors CPJ and William A. Orme, Jr., executive director until July 1, for exemplifying SPJ’s mission to “ensure a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely and fully,” said SPJ executive director Dennis Norris.
Bulgarian Journalist Vows to Continue Reporting
Anna Zarkova, a prize-winning crime reporter for the independent Bulgarian daily Trud who had acid thrown in her face in May, greeted journalists and CPJ board and staff members on October 15 in New York at the home of Josh Friedman, CPJ board member and Newsday U.N. bureau chief. “It was the voice from the Committee to Protect Journalists that meant the most to me,” said Zarkova, recalling how phone calls from CPJ lifted her spirits while she was hospitalized for extensive acid burns to her eye and face. Vowing to continue her investigative reporting, Zarkova said “I am just one of many Bulgarian journalists risking their lives in the fight against crime.”
NEWS IN BRIEF
A. Lin Neumann, CPJ Asia program coordinator, was in Indonesia in August on a fact-finding mission to learn how the independent press was faring since the overthrow of Suharto. He met with Information Minister Mohamad Yunus to discuss the need to reform media laws to give more protection to journalists and ensure the continuation of the newly re-emerging independent press. Neumann’s article on the re-launch in October of the weekly news magazine Tempo, shut down by Suharto in 1994, appears in the Columbia Journalism Review (a version also appears in the online edition of Dangerous Assignments at ).
Neumann also traveled to Thailand to meet with Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan on the need to broaden press freedom in South East Asia. While there he laid the groundwork for an organizing conference in Bangkok of journalists from South East Asian nations. The November 7-8 conference will be co-sponsored by CPJ and the World Press Freedom Committee. Both Neumann and CPJ executive director Ann K. Cooper will attend. On October 27, Neumann spoke on the changing press climate in South East Asia at the biannual conference of the Commonwealth Press Union in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His remarks were drawn from his report “Freedom Takes Hold: ASEAN Journalism in Transition.”
Cooper and CPJ Americas program coordinator Joel Simon spoke on panels at SPJ’s annual convention, in Los Angeles on October 21-23. Cooper spoke on “Journalists in Jeopardy,” Simon on the emerging independent press in Mexico.
Simon addressed a gathering of international investigative journalists November 7 at Harvard University on “Surviving the Dangers of Investigative Reporting.” Two CPJ International Press Freedom Award recipients also were scheduled to speak at the session, 1998 awardee Gustavo Gorriti and 1994 recipient Iqbal Athas. Simon was in Peru in June with a coalition of press freedom groups to lobby for the appointment by the Organization of American States of a special rapporteur on press freedom.
Americas research assistant Marylene Smeets‘ essay on risks facing Colombian journalists who report on drug trafficking or official corruption appeared in The Christian Science Monitor August 13.
Nigeria was the focus of attention for Africa program coordinator Kakuna Kerina, who organized a conference in Ghana in August with the West African Journalists Association that attracted 50 Ghanaian and Nigerian journalists to evaluate the prospects for press freedom following the death in June of Gen. Sani Abacha. Cooper and CPJ Board Chairman Gene Roberts accompanied also participated in the conference. Kerina’s article on the post-Abacha Nigerian press appeared in the November-December issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. Kerina appeared on WorldNet on October 22 to discuss ethics in the African media.
Middle East program coordinator Joel Campagna traveled on a fact-finding mission to Algeria to meet journalists and gather information about the climate for the press.
Chrystyna Lapychak, Europe program coordinator, traveled to Kiev to talk about journalists’ rights under international norms at an October 16-18 conference held by IREX ProMedia. She also met with officials of the journalists union, and with independent journalists and newspaper editors.
CPJ welcomes Shermaine Craigwell, office manager; Trenton Daniel, assistant in the development department; Kavita Menon, research assistant in the Asia program; and Murray Seeger, CPJ’s Washington, D.C., liaison.