Report to the Board of Governors October 25, 2011

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Since our last report, the Committee has written letters:

  • To President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, deploring the killing of two more journalists.  This is one of our follow-up letters continuing our long protest against the drug wars and the impotence of the government's response.  This time, we told the president that we understood how he was trying to battle the killers and how difficult it was, but we hoped he would re-double his efforts.
  • To President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines, another follow-up in our condemnation of the impunity enjoyed by murderers of Philippine journalists.
  • To Iraq, requesting a genuine investigation into the murder of a journalist found shot dead in his home.
  • To President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, expressing dismay at his continuing crackdown on press freedom and the media of Ecuador.
  • And to Pakistan, where another journalist has been found with his throat slit, and with signs of torture.

All these letters are posted on the OPC website, and your comments will be welcome.

As part of our effort to attract attention to the OPC and to the website, we have also started a new forum, similar to the forum on Wikileaks that triggered a lively debate last year.  This one, pegged to the on-going Occupy Wall Street protest, was prompted by the New York Police Department harassment and arrests of journalists trying to cover the demonstrations, particularly bloggers and Internet posters.  The issue is, Who is a journalist?  Who should be able to issue media credentials, and what privileges should journalists enjoy?  What standards should be expected of them?  We hope the conversation will be provocative, and I invite you all to help kick it off by logging in and posting a comment.

We are also making progress on expanding the OPC presence on the social media.  Our new members -- Emma Daly and Tom Squitieri -- have volunteered to discuss press freedom issues on Facebook and Twitter, and Abi Wright will recruit a social media intern for the Committee from the students at the Columbia School of Journalism.  We plan to expand this effort to NYU and CCNY in coming months.

Respectfully submitted by:  Larry Martz, chairman

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