Source description last updated: 28 November 2019

In brief: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is a New York-based non-profit organisation that seeks to promote press freedom and to ensure safe working environments for journalists worldwide.

Coverage on

Attacks on the Press, Special reportst

Covered monthly on; Special reports are covered for countries of priorities A, B and C; the annual Attacks on the Press report is covered also for countries of priority D.


“The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal. CPJ protects the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are under threat.” (CPJ website: Our Mission, undated)

“The Committee to Protect Journalists was founded in 1981 by a group of U.S. correspondents who realized they could not ignore the plight of colleagues whose reporting put them in peril on a daily basis.” (CPJ website: Our History, undated)

“Since its founding […], it has been CPJ's mandate to take action when journalists are censored, harassed, threatened, attacked, jailed, abducted, or killed for their work, without regard to political ideology. To achieve this goal, CPJ documents cases, publishes in-depth reports, conducts high-level advocacy and campaigns on journalists' behalf, and provides comprehensive, life-saving emergency support.” (CPJ website: Frequently Asked Questions, undated)

“CPJ is made up of about 40 experts” (CPJ website: What We Do and Who We Are, undated) including contributors based in “Bangkok, Beirut, Berlin, Bogotá, Brussels, Goma, Istanbul, Kiev, London, Mexico City, Nairobi, New Delhi, São Paulo, and Taipei” (CPJ: Annual Report 2018, p. 2-3).

“CPJ reports on violations in repressive countries, conflict zones, and established democracies alike” (CPJ website: What We Do and Who We Are, undated).

CPJ classifies press freedom violations according to a number of definitions, including abduction, attack, killing, imprisonment, threat and harassment of journalists as well as censorship of media (which includes official bans, confiscation of editions and closure of news outlets) (CPJ website: Frequently Asked Questions, undated).


“CPJ is funded solely by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. CPJ does not accept government funding” (CPJ website: Frequently Asked Questions, undated).

Supporters of CPJ who donated more than $1,000 in 2017 are listed in the most recent annual report published in 2018, pages 26 through 29:

CPJ’s total assets as of the end of 2017 amounted to $21,408,622. (CPJ: Annual Report 2018, undated, p. 30)

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: The Americas, Europe & Central Asia, North Africa & Middle East, Africa, Asia

Thematic focus: Violations of press freedom and treatment of journalists (who are defined as “people who cover news or comment on public affairs through any media -- including in print, in photographs, on radio, on television, and online” and include “staff journalists, freelancers, stringers, bloggers, and citizen journalists” (CPJ website: Our Research, undated).


“CPJ's research staff documents hundreds of attacks on the press each year. Each case identified as a violation of press freedom is corroborated by more than one source for factual accuracy, confirmation that the victims were journalists or news organizations, and verification that intimidation was the probable motive” (CPJ website: Our Research, undated).

As for killings of journalists reported by CPJ, the organisation “considers a case work-related only when reasonably certain that a journalist was killed in direct reprisal for his or her work; in crossfire; or while carrying out a dangerous assignment” (CPJ website: Our Research, undated).

Special reports are written by CPJ staff contributors and/or consultants. While some reports exclusively draw on desk-based research in public sources and in-house interviews (see, for example, CPJ: On the table: Why now is the time to sway Rouhani to meet his promises for press freedom in Iran, 24 May 2018 and CPJ: Journalists Not Terrorists: In Cameroon, anti-terror legislation is used to silence critics and suppress dissent, 20 September 2017), other reports may include information gained through interviews with local media workers conducted during visits by CPJ contributors (see, for example, CPJ: Acts of Intimidation: In Pakistan, journalists’ fear and censorship grow even as fatal violence declines, 12 September 2018, About this report). Special reports do not contain specific references (footnotes, endnotes etc.) but may mention the quoted source in the text body, sometimes explicitly by name (see, for example, CPJ: Acts of Intimidation: In Pakistan, journalists’ fear and censorship grow even as fatal violence declines, 12 September 2018, p. 9), at other times anonymously with a generic reference as to the type of source  (see, for example, CPJ: Acts of Intimidation: In Pakistan, journalists’ fear and censorship grow even as fatal violence declines, 12 September 2018, p. 9).

The country-specific sections of the annual “Attacks on the Press” report are authored by CPJ staff (see, for example, CPJ: Attacks on the Press, 2017 Edition - Bangladesh - Zone of Silence, 25 April 2017) or journalists external to the CPJ (see, for example, CPJ: Attacks on the Press, 2017 Edition - Russia - Chinese Import, 25 April 2017) and cover a specific aspect of the situation relating to press freedom in that country.


Language(s) of publications:

English and relevant local languages

Further reading / links:

AP - Associated Press: Committee to Protect Journalists wins UN accreditation, 25 July 2016


All links accessed 28 November 2019.