AT&T donates $250,000 to defend press freedom

The Committee to Protect Journalists is pleased to announce that AT&T is donating $250,000 to support the organization’s defense of journalists and press freedom. AT&T acquired Time Warner this year and is now the parent company of CNN.

“Journalists around the world do the important work of holding leaders accountable, exposing the truth, and telling the stories that need to be told. Threats to journalists are, at the very core, threats to freedom and liberty,” said AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. “In light of numerous recent events around the world where journalists have been threatened, harmed, and even killed, we’re pleased to support the Committee to Protect Journalists, whose work is more important than ever.”

CPJ, which fights for the right of journalists to report the news freely and safely, believes that press freedom is a fundamental human right, essential to democracy and accountability. Every year, hundreds of journalists are attacked, imprisoned, or killed. For nearly 40 years, CPJ has been there to defend them.

“CPJ is deeply grateful to AT&T for its support of our work,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “This gift enables CPJ to continue confronting the myriad dangers that journalists face all over the world.”

“Leaders may not like everything that is written about them–I know I don’t,” said AT&T’s Stephenson. “But journalists serve as an indispensable check on power. They do the hard and often unpopular work of shining a light on issues that matter, so that people are better equipped to make decisions for themselves.”

AT&T’s unsolicited and unrestricted support comes at a time when press freedom is under siege globally. Ever since Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul this month, CPJ has helped lead the call for an international investigation into his murder, and has also urged the U.S. State Department to conduct an expedited inquiry.

Last week, CPJ met with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to call for justice in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, six months after a CPJ delegation urged high-level EU officials to conduct a thorough investigation into her death. CPJ has condemned the imprisonment in Myanmar of two Reuters journalists accused of violating the Official Secrets Act, and in September co-hosted a panel at the United Nations featuring the Myanmar journalists’ lawyer, Amal Clooney, that discussed journalists imprisoned all over the world.

CPJ is also defending journalists in the United States. According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, at least 43 journalists have been arrested and 77 physically assaulted since CPJ co-launched the website in 2017. Four journalists and one media worker were killed at the Capital Gazette in Maryland in June this year. To confront these threats and others, CPJ meets with leaders on Capitol Hill to urge the U.S. to uphold press freedom, and at the State Department, to ensure the U.S. uses its influence to defend journalists globally.

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