Investigative journalists and bloggers are being kidnapped or even killed in several conflict regions. The Committee to Protect Journalism (CPJ) pursues to illuminate organized crime, press freedom and human rights. Being active online, it also hosts a CPJ Journalist Security Blog. Frank Smyth, Journalist, CPJ senior advisor and executive director is the host of this blog. In the interview, Frank outlines his work and the importance of displaying issues of press freedom.
Frank, you are the host of the CPJ Journalist Security Blog. Please describe what the intention behind this blog is.
Yes. CPJ’s Journalist Security Blog provides timely, informative and at time provocative analysis and commentary on security issues broadly defined to include physical, digital and emotional self-care for journalists and citizen journalists. Myself, my CPJ colleagues and guest bloggers all contribute.
What are the main topics that you present?
The topics include reports from countries such as, Syria, Keyna, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mexico and others. In fact, we present journalist security issues from the conflict zones of these countries. Take a look at the stories we’ve covered.
Why is it important to host a blog like this one?
So journalists and citizen journalists have one place they can come to find such pieces. There are other sources of information out there, too. We also do short blogs pointing to information elsewhere.
From which sources do you receive your information?
Did you ever have to react on any negative comments or threats?
Not for anything on the blog, no.
What is your history? How come you feel the urge to report on the mistreatment of journalists and bloggers?
Iam a journalist who has specialized in armed conflicts, organized crime, and human rights, reporting from nations including El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Jordan, and Iraq where I, in 1991, was imprisoned for 18 days. In the 1990s I investigated arms trafficking for Human Rights Watch and I reported for CBS News, and written for The Nation, The Village Voice, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, World Policy Journal, and Foreign Affairs. I have testified on press freedom matters before the Organization of American States, the International Commission of Jurists, and the U.S. Congress. Further, I am the founder and executive director of Global Journalist Security, a firm that provides consulting and training services to journalists and others.
How do you evaluate the coverage and/or educational effect of the CPJ Journalist Security Blog?
The evaluation is based on feedback online and word of mouth, and the traffic online to the blog.
(Foto: Frank Smyth (c) Frank Smyth, @FrankSmyth)