On World Refugee Day, CPJ Report Tracks Fleeing Journalists

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has released a report documenting the flight of a group of people not often thought of as refugees: journalists. As repressive regimes around the world tighten their grip on activists and political opponents, reporters willing to reveal damaging truths about their governments are also suffering severe consequences. “In the past year, 55 journalists from 21 countries fled their homes due to violence, imprisonment, and death threats,” according to the CPJ report. "The top countries for exodus were Iran and Somalia… followed by Ethiopia, Syria, Eritrea, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Sudan, and 13 others.”

The CPJ study is specific to journalists who fled due to threats or violence against them that came about from their work. An interactive map shows the comparative data from a geographic perspective.

Fear of violence and the threat of imprisonment are the top two reasons journalists gave for seeking refuge, a decision that has its own traumatic consequences. In virtually all cases, the journalists were forced to leave families, jobs and lives they had built, and come to an acceptance that they may never be able to return. After relocation, only approximately 20 percent of them were able to return to work in the field.

The CPJ has set up a Journalist Assistance Program to help journalists fearing for their safety to get out of harm’s way. A video about the program is below: