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CPJ joins call for UN to appoint special representative for safety of journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists is one of 35 press freedom groups calling on the U.N. General Assembly to appoint a Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General for the Safety of Journalists as soon as possible. A joint letter from the groups proposes that the representative could work closely with the secretary-general to coordinate with U.N. bodies and member states to implement the U.N. Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

April 29, 2016 3:56 PM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Internet, Security

Breaking the Silence

On February 11, 2011, as journalists were documenting the raucous celebration in Cairo's Tahrir Square following the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the story took a sudden and unexpected turn. CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan, who was reporting from the square, was violently separated from her crew and security detail by a mob of men. They tore her clothes from her body, beat her, and brutalized her while repeatedly raping her with their hands. Logan was saved by a group of Egyptian women who berated her attackers until a group of Egyptian army officers arrived and took her to safety.

Attacks on the Press   |   Internet, Security

Responding to Internet Abuse

Ana Freitas, a 26-year-old Brazilian journalist who covers pop culture, recalled how she once had trouble convincing an editor at the news outlet YouPix to publish an article she had written about women and minorities being unwelcome on comment boards related to pop cultural videos, movies, comics or gaming.

Attacks on the Press   |   Internet, Security

Combating Digital Harassment

A plurality of online voices is good for democracy, yet one group has come under attack in the most gruesome ways. Threats of rape, physical violence and graphic imagery are showing up in the inboxes and on the social media platforms of female journalists across the globe. Though online harassment of journalists is not new, it has become a particular cause for concern and a deterrent to free expression for many female journalists who have made valuable contributions to the news. I have had the privilege to work with many of them.

Attacks on the Press   |   Security, UK, Uganda

Double Exposure

When it comes to abusive readers' comments and tweets from Internet trolls, Katherine O'Donnell has heard it all. For years, O'Donnell, who is night editor of the Scottish edition of the U.K.'s The Times, has borne the brunt of personal attacks, including about her gender, from online trolls who take umbrage at articles in her newspaper.

Attacks on the Press   |   Security, USA

The Progression of Hate

Even today, the words scribbled across the pages in angry ALL CAPS are hard to look at.

"HOW DO YOU GET A NIGGER OUT OF A TREE? CUT THE ROPE!!"

"BEFORE THIS WORLD ENDS, THERE WILL BE A RACE WAR..."

"ALL YOU PEOPLE DO IS CRY BITCH WINE [sic], BITCH."

"HAVE YOU PLAYED THE RACE CARD MICHELLE THIS WEEK?"

Back then, I would pull the letters I received out of sealed plastic bags with rubber gloves while standing outdoors, so as not to expose my coworkers at the newspaper to any potential toxins -- and to preserve any fingerprints that might still be imprinted atop these hateful words.

Attacks on the Press   |   Kenya, Security

LGBT Reporting in Africa

On a recent trip to Kenya, I sat with S., a gay refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the cramped, one-room apartment he shares with three friends, all straight. The four share a bed, and none know S. is gay. The floor is covered in a vibrant yellow vinyl, their belongings clutter every corner, and a tiny couch is crammed into the space between the bed and the door.

Attacks on the Press   |   Security, Uganda

Preparing for the Worst

It's a calm day in a Ugandan village. Women gather on plastic chairs, shaded from the afternoon sun. I'm here with a handful of journalists on a reporting trip sponsored by the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF). The village women welcome us and begin to tell us about their lives. Then something happens. A man in the shadows glares at us. Others begin to crowd around. There is tension. We are not wanted here.

Attacks on the Press   |   Internet, Security, UK, USA

Why a Troll Trolls

"Yeah... I went too far," he said, which by most accounts would be an understatement.

Among the Twitter comments this Internet troll posted to or about a female writer and activist were:

"Rape her nice ass."

"I will find you."

"The police will do nothing."

The man, who agreed to be interviewed only under a pseudonym--we'll call him Jim--said he did not start off with the intention of menacing anyone. Yet it is hard to imagine a public milieu where an individual might consider casually uttering such words--to a stranger no less.

Attacks on the Press   |   Colombia, Security

The Sadness of May the 25th

To rewrite one's story, when it is so painful, feels like a kind of suicide. Psychologists would say that is part of a grieving process, helping close nefarious chapters in life. We, the victims of sexual violence, are often told that. But I think it would be more helpful to the goal of moving forward if receiving justice were part of the process.

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