The Committee to Protect Journalists released a study today about the number of journalists who are in exile because of the repressive nature of their home countries.
The CPJ survey was released to mark World Refugee Day, June 20.
Given the number of refugees around the United States, it strikes me that this is a perfect hook for LOCAL news organizations to do stories about the LOCAL impact of refugees in their areas. But for now, let’s focus on the CPJ report.
About 70 journalists have been forced into exile because of repressive government policies. More than half of the exiles came from Iran and Cuba.
“I feel unstable because there is nothing for us here,” said Cuban reporter Victor Rolando Arroyo Carmona, 59, who served more than seven years in prison on baseless charges before being freed last September and forced into exile in Spain. There, he has experienced significant professional and economic challenges, a common experience among the 67 journalists forced into exile worldwide in the past 12 months. “We don’t even have our professional titles,” Arroyo Carmona said. “We live in limbo.”
The CPJ examined cases between June 1, 2010 and May 31, 1011. The organization only recorded cases it could document. In its statement June 20, the CPJ said other groups may use other criteria to come up with higher numbers of exiled journalists.
For its part, Iran topped the list of countries driving journalists into exile for the second consecutive year as the government continued an assault on free expression that began with the disputed 2009 election. CPJ’s 2010 survey found at least 29 Iranian editors, reporters, and photographers had fled into exile; the country’s total exodus over the last decade is 66, behind only Ethiopia and Somalia.
According to the CPJ study, the leading cause journalists fled their home countries was imprisonment or the threat being jailed. The survey only counted journalists who fled
- because of work-related persecution,
- who remained in exile for at least three months, and
- whose current whereabouts and activities are known.
It does not include those who left their countries for professional or financial opportunities, who left due to general violence in society, or those targeted for non-journalism related activities, such as political activism.