May 19, 2022

Jodie Ginsburg, a Fighter for Press Freedom, Is Expanding Her Battle

The Committee to Protect Journalists was started in 1981 by two American journalists who had worked on the side to raise awareness about the case of Alcibíades González Delvalle, a Paraguayan columnist and critic of his country’s military government who had been arrested over one of his columns.

Within weeks of their campaign, Mr. González Delvalle was released. Realizing that no other organization was monitoring press freedom from the United States, the two journalists, Michael Massing and Laurie Nadel, brought together a board of prominent, award-winning journalists from large organizations including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post and CBS. The celebrated CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, recently retired, signed on as the group’s honorary chairman. Its mandate was to protect journalists outside of America who didn’t have the shelter of the First Amendment or easy access to human rights lawyers.

“We felt that we enjoyed these protections and privileges and other countries didn’t,” said Mr. Massing, who is still on the board. “We would use our own influence and prestige in America to help journalists in other countries.”

Since then, C.P.J. has grown into one of the leading press freedom organizations, with a $10 million annual budget, more than 50 employees and contractors, and a global presence that stretches from the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to Guatemala City to New Delhi.

In 2001, it expanded its mandate from raising awareness about journalists under threat to helping some of them directly, offering emergency funds to hire lawyers, get medical attention or flee their countries.

Last year, the organization helped some 60 journalists and their families evacuate Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/17/world/europe/jodie-ginsberg-committee-to-protect-journalists.html

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