Thomas J. Dodd Prize sheds light on group protecting journalism abroad

The Committee to Protect Journalists has been awarded the 2009 Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice & Human Rights.  Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) annually presents the Thomas J. Dodd Prize on behalf of his late father whose commitment to human rights was exemplified by his work as a prosecutor in the Nuremburg Trials following World War II.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, founded in 1981, is an advocate for professional journalists around the world.  CPJ keeps track of journalists who have been killed, imprisoned, or sued by governments in connection with their work.  The group publishes annual reports on journalist rights violations and lobbies governments for journalistic freedom.

CPJ receiving the Thomas J. Dodd Prize from Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)

The U.S. $75,000 Thomas J. Dodd Prize was awarded largely for the CPJ’s efforts that go beyond advocacy.  CPJ has created the Journalist Assistance Program.  The program allocates money for medicine and other supplies to care for imprisoned journalists.  Since its creation, the Journalist Assistance Program has helped over 400 journalists worldwide.

The Committee to Protect Journalists does some amazing work.  It’s very encouraging to see the group being recognized for its efforts to protect the freedom of journalism and information.  I think that in the United States, we often take the freedom of the press for granted.  I am pleased to see that CPJ is working to protect journalists in danger abroad.


5 responses to “Thomas J. Dodd Prize sheds light on group protecting journalism abroad

  1. I hadn’t heard about CPJ being recognized with this. Thanks for posting. CPJ is truly doing “the Lord’s work” with international media.

    We sure do take our First Amendment rights for granted. Take a minute to read about the five international journos CPJ is recognizing with its press freedom awards.

    “Mustafa Haji Abdinur of Somalia, Naziha Réjiba of Tunisia, Eynulla Fatullayev of Azerbaijan, and J.S. Tissainayagam of Sri Lanka have faced imprisonment, threats of violence, and censorship to stand up for press freedom in their countries.”


  2. Every week as I flip through my Newsweek I take note of the page dedicated to the “Free Maziar Bahari” petition. Bahari is a Candaian-Iranian journalist who has been held in Tehran since June 21. Among the hundreds of names and organizations on the petition, listed in the second column in big, bold print is the CPJ.

    Unfortunately, it’s an organization that many people might not think about often or ever really appreciate. Considering the far-reaching implications of the work they do, we all probably should.

    • I have been following Maziar Bahari too. Iran just shut down three papers in the last couple weeks. It’s really a troubling place for journalism right now.

  3. I just applied to several correspondent programs for a job while I’m abroad, so it’s a relief to see there are groups who will protect my rights while I’m abroad. (I’ll admit I didn’t even consider this when applying!) It’s even more reassuring to see they are being recognized for the good work they do. Now I really hope I get that job. 🙂

  4. This organization sounds like the UN Peacekeeping Forces of journalism. I think it is important to have professional advocacy groups. And, the lucky thing for journalists is that publicity is their business. Because it was so heavily publicized, I still remember when Jill Carroll, the Christian Science Monitor journalist, was held captive in Iraq for nearly three months in 2006. There was so much media coverage of her captivity.

    But, even with the media working for them, I still think it’s important to have advocacy groups for those journalists put into difficult positions that don’t attract as much public attention.

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