Over the summer, I did a month long internship at The Committee to Protect Journalists. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are ideals surprisingly unique to certain countries. All over the world, journalists and artists are prevented from speaking or writing freely, and they are often thrown in jail if they do so. This is typically the case in countries with oppressive governments where it is illegal to criticize governments or rulers. One of the best known examples of this limited freedom is in the case of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who was imprisoned for his bold art work. The Chinese government finally gave Ai Weiwei his passport back this July. Another well known case is that of Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post journalist who has been held captive by the Iranian government for 447 days.
The Committee to Protect Journalists works to free imprisoned journalists, promote freedom of the press, and advocate human rights by working with the governments that forbid such freedoms. The issue of freedom of the press is an increasingly pressing one, as more journalists are being imprisoned than ever and as “ authorities seek to silence and retaliate against critical voices covering sensitive topics such as corruption or human rights abuses”. At CPJ, I not only had the opportunity to learn about an issue that is incredibly important to me, but I also got to meet a group of passionate people and watch them work to conquer a problem that they care about.