Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Open Letter To Joel Simon Of CPJ: Not Even One Anti-Mignini Accusation Withstands Careful Testing

Posted by Kermit

Attn. Mr. Joel Simon
Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10001


Dear Mr. Simon,

More on your potentially libelous open letter, sent unchecked to 21 world leaders, and your first attempt at a response.

As previously with Open Letter #1 of April 26, this will have to occupy several posts, because the evidence against your unsubstantiated or misleading accusations against Umbrian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini is so voluminous. 



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[Above:  Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists is stepping into the same slippery terrain of unsubstantiated accusations against Mr. Mignini as Friends of Amanda activists such as Judge Michael Heavey have done in the past, and which Amanda Knox’s lawyers have had to disassociate themselves from. Is this just a procedural slip-up by Mr. Simon which he will quickly seek to correct, or is he consciously introducing himself and his organisation as a proxy player in a potential attempt to pervert the course of justice?]

As a public notice, your own open letter definitely has a potential impact on his reputation and career in the professional realm, and on his good name and honour as a person. No demonstrative proof was offered for those accusations. My own skepticism concerning the soundness of your accusatory text was underlined by what seemed to be the only and entire basis for this splashy letter, an aggressive international PR campaign fraught with risk for the CPJ’s reputation:

  • Sfarzo told CPJ …
  • Preston told CPJ … 
  • Cottonwood told CPJ … 
  • Editor Ken Robinson said …

There was no apparent fact-finding, no contrasting of opinion, no double checking, no collecting of documents.  Not even evidence of the slightest, minimal effort to contact the subject of these grave accusations, Mr. Mignini (not even a “he didn’t reply to our email” or a “we tried to call his office at midnight but no one answered”).

This is shameful coming from a journalistic organisation, in an industry where every professional worth his salt checks a source before publishing to avoid credibility and legal problems further along.

My letter raised a number of questions about how and why your open letter to the world was prepared, and I made a number of requests or suggestions in order to understand better the basis for the accusations against Mignini.

Some of the red flags which result from my questions are:

  • Did the CPJ simply accept the accusation of certain persons against Mr. Mignini without even minimal, Google-based fact checking? 

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Having realized that basic fact checking was not carried out, has the CPJ proceeded to do so?

    -> If not, then Red Flag

  • Does the tipster who set you on this issue also stand to gain something by painting Mr. Mignini in a certain light?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Is the tipster or one of the subjects of the letter a financial backer of your organisation?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Could one or more of the subjects that the CPJ sought to protect in its missive be less a journalist seeking to report news freely, and more an element of a lobby group in an open criminal case?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Do you know that the principal subject who you sought to “protect” in your Letter to the World is actually a screen name, used by the blogger?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Having realized (thanks to our first reply to you here on TJMK) that you were seeking to protect a screen name, did you proceed to identify the real-life person behind the screen name, and check what provoked a police visit to his home and what he is actually charged with, and if said charges can be in any way linked to Mr. Mignini, who closed his investigation of the murder of Meredith Kercher almost three years ago? 

    -> If not, then Red Flag

  • Upon realizing that your accusations are neither substantiated nor relevant, is it possible that the CPJ could be used as a party to pervert the course of justice in two open criminal cases? 

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Have you included as justification for action in your letter to the world the supposed threat to persons who aren’t journalists or reporters?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • As a result of the CPJ Letter to 21 World Leaders, could the until now untarnished reputation of the Organization to Protect Journalists be put into question, favouring the abuse perpetrated against journalists by those in power around the world who actually do threaten the work of journalists?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

With the acknowledgement that just one of these red flags (any one of them) is raised, the CPJ should have taken a step back and thought through how and why it ended up issuing its Letter to the World of 19-04-2011, identified internal control issues and external damage caused (both to the organisation’s reputation and to third parties), and taken steps to correct the cause of the red flag and ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.

There is negative impact that has already occurred to the Committee to Protect Journalists. However, it will continue to grow as more as more journalists, public agencies and the public in general become aware of and concerned about what is fast becoming the CPJ’s Abusive Accusations Against the Perugian Prosecutor Affair.

Instead of stepping back and reflecting on how to resolve this problem elegantly, only two days after publishing our first reply to you the CPJ posted a note, not on its front page but revealingly hidden away on the institutional blog page on its site.

Frankly, I was astounded that the CPJ seemed to sweep the questions I raised in my first letter under the CPJ’s own carpet by stating that “we stand by” the first Letter to 21 World Leaders on 19-04-2011.

Instead of trying to de-construct what it has created, the CPJ seems to be making the monster grow.

I should say that we – the international followers of progress in the case concerning the murder of the English student Meredith Kercher in Perugia on 1 November 2007 - recognize and are thankful that at least the CPJ did give the reply to our letter, and that comments have been open on that page. We do thank you for that.

However, to some extent, both your reply and some of the comments posted on the CPJ site actually increase our concern surrounding the CPJ’s recent actions and the obvious lack of due diligence applied in the preparation and sending of your Letter to the World. Had it occurred because of a procedural slip up, the normal reaction of an organisation such as yours would be to suspend the Letter to the World and perform detailed (or even basic) fact checking.

But you haven’t.



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[Above: CPJ coordinator Nina Ognianova takes the heat on behalf of Joel Simon, admitting that the Letter to 21 World leaders was only written on the basis of accusatory statements offered or requested of “victims” of Mignini, with no fact checking whatsoever.]

The CPJ reply to our letter states: “CPJ has received a number of emails in reaction to our April 19 letter … which details cases of harassment”.

What details? Your April 19 letter didn’t detail anything.

The CPJ reply to our letter states: “CPJ takes no position as to the alleged guilt or innocence of either of the defendants in the Kercher case”

This comment has nothing to do with either your original letter or our response, and I don’t know why you have included it in your reply. We all assume a priori that the CPJ has no position on the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher. What we are concerned about is that CPJ does not provide any detail or checking to its grave accusations against Mr. Mignini.

The CPJ reply to our letter states: “Those in positions of power must understand that scrutiny and criticism, including the harshest of kind, comes with the office.” 

We could not agree more with that no-brainer. What is missing in the framework of your open letter to world leaders about Mr. Mignini is what must be said in the next breath, the missing second half of that equation, which is that in addition, the Press (from individual reporters to the sectorial press associations which represent them such as yours) must act in a responsible manner, striving to publish and communicate truthful facts which have been thoroughly contrasted. To not achieve that level of responsibility means a drift towards the Press publishing news and “facts” à la Janet Cooke and Jimmy’s World.



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[Above:  Let’s hope that the CPJ can help avoid a 21st century Jimmy’s World. Does the CPJ have an Ombudsman service when regular channels of complaints provide no adequate reply?]

In my opinion (and that of many persons who have written me, and I’m sure many persons who have written you), that is exactly how the Committee to Protect Journalists is appearing.

When you say that in spite of the extremely serious issues that we raise about your document accusing Mignini “We stand by it”, you are really saying two things:

1) you continue to support the highly doubtful veracity of the unsupported accusations against Mignini

2) you are not planning to do any further checking of the facts, as effortless as that may be. (Instead of “further” checking of the facts, it’s really a question of “initial, basic” checking of the facts)

If that is what you stand by, then the overall reputation of CPJ is called into question, and those who truly should respond for the abuse of real journalists in tough situations around the world know that they can ignore your calls of support for personal freedom and freedom of press, calling into question the integrity of your organisation.



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[Above: World leaders on all continents who are directly responsible for the abuse of journalists and the free press in general, or who are in a position to improve the conditions of journalists have their life made easier when organizations such as the CPJ are seen as frail or lacking in the very principles that they promote.]

I can understand that from the CPJ’s point of view, you are in a tight position. Your reputation is at stake. You have published a high-profile letter containing grave accusations, which as it actually gets examined beyond the words of the accusers starts to unravel very quickly and evaporate, and by no means justifies a letter of alert to world leaders.

At the same time, the most visible of the persons who supposedly has suffered at the hands of Mignini is on the list of the CPJ’s significant financial benefactors. “Preston … suffered harassment by Mignini himself in 2006 – and eventually was forced to leave Italy for fear of imprisonment – told CPJ ….”

And Douglas Preston is now going his own way promoting and “improving” your letter and claiming that you have carried out an “independent investigation”, when that seems to not be the case. Preston has said in the last few days:

“the Committee to Protect Journalists … has made public the results of their own, independent investigation into the actions of Mignini and the police, prosecutors, and judges in Perugia, Italy.

Their conclusions are shocking. The report details what appears to be an organized campaign to harass, intimidate, and physically threaten Italian and American journalists covering the case. CPJ discovered that in at least on case police in Perugia assaulted a journalist who had criticized Mignini, trumped up charges against him, and then tried to get him certified “insane”—all with Mignini’s knowledge and cooperation.

The CPJ investigation also detailed how Perugian authorities extended their harassment campaign into the United States, threatening American journalists, writers, and newspapers with criminal charges in a gross attempt to extend Italian criminal laws on to American soil and interfere with the freedoms we enjoy in our own country.

The Committee to Protect Journalists was so concerned with their findings that yesterday they sent a strong letter of protest to the President of the Italian Republic, asking for action to end this abuse and calling on him to take steps to protect journalists in Perugia.  The letter reads like a horror novel.”

(Source: Doug Preston promoting something he calls The Monster of Perugia)

Mr. Simon, I have highlighted certain expressions of Preston in bold. Is it of your opinion that this financial backer of the CPJ is using expressions and style that actually reflect the content of the CPJ letter which you signed, and how you prepared that letter? If not, what do you think explains the gap?

Could it be the close proximity of the genesis of the 19-04-2011 letter to Preston himself, to him promoting “my nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, written with Italian journalist Mario Spezi, and currently being made into a movie” that Preston claims will star George Clooney?



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[Above: In the name of transparency, it would be appropriate for the CPJ to reveal the financial contributions that Douglas Preston has made to the organisation, as well as to detail the communications and attached documents that Preston has exchanged with the CPJ with regard to the Letter to the World of 19-04-2011. This is what honest Governance is all about.]

I have received a number of emails in the last few days, as I’m sure you have too, and the message people are telling me is that something has gone amiss with the CPJ letter to 21 World Leaders about a local Italian prosecutor in the hills of Umbria.

Let me help you out.

I want CPJ to work. I am not looking for it to be humiliated, as it is a very needed organisation which has done great work. However, respect must not just be earned but it must be maintained. In the case of the CPJ letter of 19-04-2011, I honestly believe that something went wrong in the internal control procedures of the CPJ. Those should be relatively easy to review, revise and use in the future to improve the quality of your activity.

However, in addition to correcting its internal procedures with regard to the future, a wrong committed must be righted. Journalism is not about sweeping things under the carpet.

As regards the latter, it is the CPJ who should decide the action it will take. I suppose that writing a new open letter copied to 21 world leaders, admitting that the CPJ got bamboozled (which is honestly what I think happened), is expecting too much.

However, why don’t you contact Mr. Mignini’s office and give him fair time to respond on your webpage? That would be just, fair and elegant, especially after the lack of elegance shown in your world letter.

Are you even aware if he knows about the supposed incident of 28-09-2010 suffered by the Perugia blogger? My bet is that he learned about it on 19-04-2011 upon reading your letter about what a bad guy he is, and that whatever reason that the police may have gone to the home of a guy who uses the screen-name “Frank Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) has more to do with that blogger’s real-life persona than his blog posts related to the Meredith Kercher case.

Did you even know that “Frank Sfarzo” is only a screen-name?  Please, please tell me that you didn’t first learn that fact only once the critical emails started to arrive after your 19-04-2011 post.

If so, that would be a serious pie-in-your-face: a letter to the world to protect a screen name against totally unsubstantiated accusations of physical abuse by police, which even if they occurred show no dotted line to a prosecutor whom some unrevealed OPJ tipster has decided to denounce (although we all have a pretty good idea of who that tipster is).

Let me help out by working to set things straight, and shed some contrasting and revealing light on the grave accusations poured on Mignini in the CPJ’s letter.

Thanks to Google, we are able to contrast the accusers’ words against .... their own words, photos and deeds as documented on Internet. These are mostly made available by themselves in their own posts and comments.

It is truly shocking that the CPJ didn’t exert the minimal effort which I present below in the Annex to this letter, and which allowed me to get a completely different understanding of how shallow the recent attack is against Mignini. To be honest, the CPJ should have seen the bamboozle coming a mile away.

If the CPJ won’t do a basic, minimal, obvious, fast, easy, needed-to-avoid-a-libel-accusation, beginner journalist’s exercise of checking the facts in a high-profile accusation with international repercussions, then I will.

Let’s do a fast “Balance” of facts as we are able to gather them. I’ve set up a Balance Sheet which we’ll use to perform some checking and tests on some of the accusations which appear in the CPJ letter. I would have performed these tests and included them in my first letter a week ago, however, I was hoping that the CPJ would have spent literally, just a few minutes to do the checking.

Here’s the format of our Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations. We’ll fill it out as we go along.



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Given the length of the indicative results that we have obtained, today we will post this letter, and shortly we will post the Annex with our findings with the complete Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations.

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or if I may be of assistance as you become more familiarized with the complex forces which are out to turn Mr. Mignini into an evil, rogue prosecutor.

However, what’s good for some people’s business is not good for yours.

I hope that with this second TJMK letter the CPJ will finally realize the delicate, weak state of your 19-04-2011 letter and will take the appropriate measures. 

In your own words to the 21 World Leaders, “thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We await your response.”

Sincerely,

Kermit

A Main Poster on TJMK (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))


Copied to:
His Excellency Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic
Angelino Alfano, Ministro della Giustizia
José Manuel Barroso, Presidente della Commissione Europea
Herman Van Rompuy, Presidente del Consiglio Europeo
Baroness Catherine Ashton, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Alto Rappresentante dell’EU per gli
Affari Esteri e la Politica di Sicurezza
Viviane Reding, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Commissario per Giustizia, Diritti
Fondamentali e Cittadinanza
Neelie Kroes, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Commissario per la Digital Agenda
Jerzy Buzek, Presidente del Parlamento Europeo
Heidi Hautala, Presidenza del Sottocomitato sui Diritti Umani del Parlamento Europeo
Jean-Marie Cavada, Presidenza dell’Intergruppo per i Media del Parlamento Europeo
Thomas Hammarberg, Commissario del Consiglio d’Europa per i Diritti Umani
Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso l’EU
Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
Michael Posner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Philip H. Gordon, U.S. Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
John Kerry, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Richard Lugar, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican Member, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democratic Member, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Ambasciatore Italiano presso gli Stati Uniti
David Thorne, U.S. Ambassador to Italy




Comments

Google Search gives Kermit’s Open Letters to Joel Simon very high priority.

Out of 65,400 hits for “cpj joel simon” Kermit’s first Open Letter is right now at Number Five.

Does anyone have Joel Simon’s direct email address? I have seen it publicly stated on the internet and it may even be on the site here.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/10/11 at 03:47 PM | #

I almost feel sorry for CPJ, and how they’ve allowed themselves to be played, as Kermit so eloquently shows. I hope Joel Simon makes amends as soon as possible. I’m sure his heart is in the right place. It IS vital that journalists are protected, but he went stumbling into this one blind. We all make mistakes. Brave men admit their mistakes.

Posted by Janus on 05/10/11 at 04:39 PM | #

“I almost feel sorry for CPJ, and how they’ve allowed themselves to be played, as Kermit so eloquently shows. I hope Joel Simon makes amends as soon as possible. I’m sure his heart is in the right place. It IS vital that journalists are protected, but he went stumbling into this one blind. We all make mistakes. Brave men admit their mistakes.”

Right! Thank you, Janus!

Posted by Helder Licht on 05/10/11 at 05:19 PM | #

5/10/11
Kermit calls for CPJ to justify their attack on Mignini. CPJ says their criticisms are in the name of honest scrutiny of “those in positions of power”.

But is it really in the name of and prompted by friends of Preston who think if they attack Mignini like he wants then they might get a part in his big MOF movie or get money out of the moviemaking in some way?

Or is the attack prompted by friends of Sfarzo and Amanda, meaning enemies of the prosecution and police, using a reputable organization to attack for them.

What’s the truth underneath the attack on Mignini? Is it to make him a little blacker so Clooney looks a little whiter, to stir up publicity? To undermine the case against Raf and Amanda? Payback for hurt feelings when Mignini scared Preston? I don’t know.

CPJ is the one who should do a little honest scrutiny of their lame sources. Frank Sfarzo posted on Perugia Shock about his physical fights with police and his real fear of the good ole boys network in Perugia. They are all against him, to hear him tell it. He implied it was due to his pro-Knox stance and his brave but dissident coverage of Amanda’s trial. But can we believe him?

It might be eye-opening to see the real truth about Frank Sfarzo. He may be in criminal trouble for a whole different reason or perhaps done serious lawbreaking of another kind, yet he seeks to make himself a heroic martyr for journalistic freedom. He has been obscuring the truth with the aid of internet anonymity and vagueness.

Did CPJ not even interview the police in Perugia to get their side of the story, what the police think of Sfarzo, what the charges against him really are? I can’t believe CPJ would be afraid to ask the police for info, this is not the Ghaddafi regime but EU Italy and CPJ is not a nobody easily intimidated.

I can’t believe CPJ would send a pointed letter like this denouncing a public prosecutor to those in Rome and around the world on the basis of cafe whisperings and back door insinuations. To use Preston’s scam sheet language, “shocking” that CPJ would launch such an attack without even picking up the phone to verify the truth from Mignini or get a statement from him, or talk to Sfarzo’s enemies, not just Mignini’s enemies. All powerful men make enemies. Who is right or wrong among them varies.

If CPJ can’t get one person to go on record with a quote to lend credence to this serious complaint, they have a weak story. It is their job to search out the truth from both sides. Even if they lean towards one side they should report both. Journalism 101.

I agree with Kermit that CPJ is a valuable, protective organization worthy of much respect if they continue to uphold their goals. They challenge Mignini to adhere to transparency, honesty, truth.

It is very suspicious how “Monster of Florence” book turning into movie with millions of dollars riding on it, is authored by a man who has a grudge against the prosecutor in his book, a prosecutor he wants CPJ to attack? Preston gives money to CPJ.

In Preston’s above quote he attacks Mignini like a harpy, when formerly he said out of his own mouth that he thought Mignini was a good man and an “incorruptible judge”. I really admired Preston for that.

“Incorruptible.” So who is bending for considerations of money?

Preston’s criticism and the CPJ attack may prove outlandish cheek if the CPJ’s “independent investigation” was no more than taking a few gripers at their word.

I hope Mr. Simon will take matters into his own hands and set things straight soon for the honor of CPJ. Thanks for your hard work on this, Kermit.

Posted by Hopeful on 05/10/11 at 05:28 PM | #

I would be surprised if Kermit was to receive an answer to his second open letter. It will fall on deaf ears, I am quite certain.

Meanwhile Frank Sfarzo’s blog has been removed. Interesting development if you ask me. I wonder where the Knox groupies will go? They are left without a home.

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Posted by Nell on 05/10/11 at 10:47 PM | #

Hi Nell. Sure is interesting that the site is down. It was often defamatory in the comments. All of us publicly named here were defamed in Frank’s comments. Italian law provides an easy fast route for those who are defamed, so it’s possible someone took advantage of that. .

Or maybe this is a sign that Frank might be facing a charge of calunnia. He has certainly sneered enough at the cops and Mignini and maybe this time they want him to put up or shut up. We have reason to think Preston and Simon spotlighting him was a nasty shock.

When his court case comes up, and it is due any day, we should learn what kind of case it is, and presumably what is his real name. It has long been a puzzle to us what is in it for him as for some reason he cannot bear to use his real name.

Do check PMF current page 20 (scroll down) for some more speculative chat on this.

On your hunch that Joel Simon will simply ignore this more detailed, conclusive, incriminating take? I rather doubt it. 

My guess is yes, there will be a response. In smart organizations with media savvy it is considered better to put any answer out there than to let some things like the above fester. CPJ raises its funds through people who trust it and it just cant afford a bad rap.

And anyway, this is not only beamed at an audience of one. People in Rome and Perugia read here. Mignini may provide a comeback. (In a sense he already has. You’ll see.) And in Congress there is watchfulness toward those inciting anti-Italianism and here sure is one example.

Defamers’ bonfire? Just astounding how many Knox cultists find themselves worse off now than they were.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/10/11 at 11:19 PM | #

Let’s see if even one credible journalist carries Frank’s proofs if any. Most look down on the pseudonymous “Frank” as a discredit to their profession. His blog carries many mean hits on people and rarely or never sources his claims.

Really sad that the idealistic Joel Simon was encouraged to come out in his support so uninformedly and so publicly.

With luck now in light of Kermit’s continuing careful documentation Joel chooses to back his organization away. Mignini has taken tremendous heat and about 99% of it is unfair.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/11/11 at 07:09 AM | #

Kermit Thank you that you care enough that you do the homework needed to expose this current injustice on Mr. Mignini.  Your credibility exceeds by far any pr firm who really isn’t interested in truth.

It’s too bad that this CPJ group probably got snookered into their participation. However for them to report that they stand by their letter leads one to question their motive. Again Kermit thank you

Posted by friar fudd on 05/11/11 at 09:03 AM | #

Note for Joel Simon on “Frank’s” website which by the way is regarded by all the reporters we know as a joke. (Ask why he never ever sources his vague innuendos posted as “reports”.)

“Frank” used the free Google Blogger software. By the look of it Blogger is all run from a single point in Silicon Valley. They would drop any free blog that anyone showed violated their terms of service.

No need for the claimed drama of a judge’s order in a Florence court. A single email with real facts would have been enough to get it taken down..

“Franks” readership statistics had not been impressive for a very long time and his core audience seems to be a couple of dozen. More to come soon from Kermit of course. He will post again later today.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/11/11 at 09:32 AM | #

I’m sorry but I have no respect for CPJ as an organization. As an anti-war commenter I have long noted its slant in reporting conflicts around the word.

Here’s a lengthy expose of how its standards slipped when it came to reporting the NATO war on Serbia:  http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/srealj.htm

ZNet Commentary, 3 February 2000
REAL JOURNALISM VERSUS PROPAGANDA
By Edward S. Herman.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has long specialized in compiling lists of journalists abused and killed in various parts of the world, and it has generally done this without compromising political discrimination…But the CPJ has broken new ground in 2000: despite the fact that on April 23, 1999, CPJ issued a statement condemning the NATO bombing of Radio and Television Serbia (RTS) as “a threat to all journalists covering the Yugoslav conflict,” its list of 33 journalists killed worldwide in 1999, released on January 6, excluded the 16 workers killed in that bombing attack. The Times of India’s veteran journalist Siddarth Varadarajan queried the CPJ on this exclusion, and got a reply from Judy Blank, the CPJ’s director of communications. She stated that although the CPJ “has an extremely broad definition of who is a journalist” their analysis of RTS broadcasts, “particularly prior to the NATO bombing campaign, leads us to the conclusion that by any definition it would not be considered journalism.” (CPJ is allegedly preparing a report on the research that led to this conclusion)

As an apologist for US agression: http://www.cpj.org/2009/02/attacks-on-the-press-in-2008-introduction.php

    In an action that has never been fully explained, a U.S. tank opened fire on the Palestine Hotel, a well-known base for the international news media, killing two reporters. CPJ’s investigation determined that tank personnel believed they were shooting at an artillery spotter. Commanders were aware that the hotel was full of journalists, CPJ concluded, but they failed to relay the information to troops in the field. Over the next five years, journalists found themselves squeezed between the military and militants. In all, at least 16 journalists have been killed by U.S. forces in Iraq. Although CPJ found that none of the killings had been a deliberate attack on news media, we also concluded that none of the killings had been fully investigated—including the bombing of Al-Jazeera’s Baghdad bureau, which killed reporter Tareq Ayyoub

Similar whitewashing occured when Al-Jazeera’s Kabul bureau was bombed.

They didnt do more than “call for an investigation” when Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was shot at by the US Army (and intelligence chief Nicola Calipari, who lost his life while trying to save her).

But when it comes to the Knox case   http://www.cpj.org/2011/04/journalists-threatened-for-reporting-on-murder-cas.php

CPJ calls on the President of Italy

    We ask you to ensure that the politically motivated lawsuit against Perugia blogger Frank Sfarzo is immediately scrapped

The lack of neutrality by a “journalist’s organization” appalls me.

Posted by Ergon on 05/11/11 at 12:09 PM | #

Hi Ergon. Stark examples of CPJ bias.

They claim to be international - a sorta UN writ small. But here is the CPJ board of directors which doesn’t seem to be very international.

http://www.cpj.org/about/board-of-directors.php

In fact, is there more than one country repersented there?  I guess that no meanie Italians would be welcome on that exclusive board.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/11/11 at 12:49 PM | #

I do have to withdraw my earlier comment on this. I felt Janus´mild words were correct fo ´an ´organisation protecting journalists, but after reading the last comments, I´m loosing the nuance . . . .

Posted by Helder Licht on 05/11/11 at 02:20 PM | #

5/11/11
Mignini has done a great job. CPJ has not. Sfarzo has not. A real riot going on in Shock World it seems. Hmmmm… The house of cards will fall.

OT:
A poster at PMF named 411 had a video of robins hatching through 4 weeks of rain and sun, mother bird’s constant care, both bird parents feeding the fledglings until they flew away. A real tonic. Poster named Thoughtful showed a nest, too.

Posted by Hopeful on 05/11/11 at 09:13 PM | #

It’s actually quite ironic (and saddening) that in a world where journalists really are threatened in many countries, this organization is spending so much time and energy protesting this.

Wait, didn’t someone or some sock puppet connected to the pro-Knox PR campaign make some threatening and/or derogatory remarks about one of the female journalists who wrote balanced articles about this case?

Posted by lilly on 05/12/11 at 10:04 AM | #


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