Committee to Protect Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an American independent non-profit, non-governmental organization, based in New York City, New York with correspondents around the world. CPJ promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists. The American Journalism Review has called the organization "Journalism's Red Cross".[2]

Committee to Protect Journalists
Formation1981 (1981)
Type501(c)3 nonprofit organization[1]
PurposePress freedom and journalist human rights
Headquarters330 Seventh Avenue, 11th Floor
New York City, New York 10001
United States
Region served
Executive Director
Joel Simon
AffiliationsInternational Freedom of Expression Exchange

History and programs

The Committee to Protect Journalists was founded in 1981 in response to the harassment of Paraguayan journalist Alcibiades González Delvalle.[3] Its founding honorary chairman was Walter Cronkite.[3] Since 1991, it has held the annual CPJ International Press Freedom Awards Dinner,[3] during which journalists and press freedom advocates who have endured beatings, threats, intimidation, and prison for reporting the news receive awards.

Between 2002 and 2008, it published a biannual magazine, Dangerous Assignments.[4] It also publishes an annual worldwide survey of press freedom called Attacks on the Press.[5]

Since 1992, the organization has compiled an annual list of all journalists killed in the line of duty around the world.[6] For 2017, it reported that 46 journalists had been killed in connection with their work, as compared to 48 in 2016 and 73 in 2015, and that of those killed, 18 had been murdered.[6] A running total of journalists killed over the entire period from 1992 is available on the group's website, as well as the statistics for any given year; as of April 2018 the total was 1285.[7] The organization's figures are typically lower than similar ongoing counts by Reporters Without Borders or the International Federation of Journalists because of CPJ's established parameters and confirmation process.[8] It also publishes an annual census of imprisoned journalists.[9]

The organization works to protect and enhance free press rights within the United States, which, among other efforts, includes its US Press Freedom Tracker project. In 2017 the project had a small infusion of financing after a $50,000 contribution from US Representative Greg Gianforte. The funds arose as a stipulation of a civil settlement Gianforte reached after his election eve attack on The Guardian political reporter Ben Jacobs in May, 2017, after Jacobs asked him a question on health care policy.[10] Gianforte was convicted of criminal assault in state court in June, 2017 stemming from his assault of Jacobs. He was fined and sentenced to community service and anger management therapy.[11][12][13] As a stipulation of his settlement with Jacobs, Gianforte donated $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which said it would use the funds to support the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.[14]

The organization is a founding member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a global network of more than seventy non-governmental organizations that monitors free-expression violations around the world and defends journalists, writers, and others persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression. In 2016, the Times of Israel reported that the United Nations voted to deny consultative status to CPJ citing concerns with the group's finances, and also because CPJ does not support punishment for hate speech.[15] The ban was overturned and CPJ was granted consultative status in July 2016.[16]

Staff and directors

Foreign correspondent Ann Cooper served as executive director from 1998 to 2006.[17]

Since July 2006, journalist Joel Simon has been the organization's executive director; he had previously served as deputy director since 2000.[18]

Its board of directors has included American journalists, including:

See also


  2. Ricchiardi, Sherry (December 1997). "Journalism's Red Cross – Under-Staffed and Low-Profile, the Committee to Protect Journalists Rides to the Rescue of Reporters and Editors Who Run Afoul of Governments Hostile to the Press". American Journalism Review. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
  3. "Committee to Protect Journalists records, 1978-2008". Columbia University Libraries Archival Collections. Columbia University. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  4. Staff (undated). "Dangerous Assignments". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
  5. "Attacks on the Press - Committee to Protect Journalists". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  6. Gladstone, Rick (December 19, 2016). "Fewer Journalists Were Killed on the Job This Year, Group Reports". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  7. "Journalists Killed Since 1992/Motive Confirmed". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  8. "Frequently Asked Questons". Section: "CPJ's list of killed journalists is different from other organizations. Why?" Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  9. "2015 prison census: 199 journalists jailed worldwide - Committee to Protect Journalists". Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  10. Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Whitney Bermes, October 11, 2017, Judge releases Congressman Gianforte’s mugshot, Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  11. Marcos, Cristina (21 June 2017). "Gianforte Causes Stir After Becoming Newest House Member". The Hill. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  12. CNN, Kyung Lah, Noa Yadidi and Carma Hassan. "Gianforte pleads guilty to assault in incident with reporter". CNN. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  13. Andrews, Natalie (12 June 2017). "Incoming GOP Congressman Greg Gianforte Pleads Guilty to Assault on Reporter". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  14. "CPJ to use $50,000 Gianforte donated as part of body slam settlement to track other assaults on press - Committee to Protect Journalists". Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  15. "Press freedom watchdog denied UN credentials". Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  16. "U.N. body overturns rejection, accredits press freedom watchdog". Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  17. "Poynter Online Forums" Archived 14 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Poynter Institute.
  18. Staff (n.d.). "Our People". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 12 September 2013.

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