National Press Club

Using Sanctions to Protect Journalists

Using Sanctions to Protect Journalists

February 11, 2019 1:30 PM

Location: Murrow Room

*Please note the room change to the Murrow Room.*

Using Sanctions to Protect Journalists

Lawmakers, former senior State Department officials and journalists will gather at the National Press Club on Feb. 11 for a discussion about the growing use of human rights sanctions to protect journalists around the world.

The panel discussion “Using Sanctions to Protect Journalists” will take place from 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. in the club's Murrow Room. The event is open to the public. Registration is required and can be completed below.

Confirmed panelists at the event, sponsored by the National Press Club Journalism Institute and Club's Freedom of the Press Committee, include:

● Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., House Foreign Affairs member and former assistant secretary of State for human rights, democracy and labor
● Rob Berschinski, senior vice president for policy at Human Rights First and former deputy assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor
● Courtney Radsch, advocacy director at the Committee to Protect Journalists
● Rachel Oswald, CQ foreign policy reporter and Press Freedom vice chair (moderator)

Named after the deceased anti-corruption Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, the first human rights sanction laws were passed in 2012 and 2016. The U.S. has imposed sanctions for human rights violations before (such as on Saddam Hussein for his use of chemical weapons) but Magnitsky appears to be the first law to include journalists as a protected class of workers that human rights sanctions can be imposed upon if they are targeted for their work.

Since it passed, the law has gained popularity, with Canada, the United Kingdom, and Estonia passing similar laws. Last October, Congress explicitly invoked the press freedom component of the sanctions for the first time when it triggered a Magnitsky investigation into the assassination of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post. President Trump has until Feb. 8 to determine whether Khashoggi’s killing was a human rights violation

The panel will examine the use of Magnitsky sanctions, including:

● Next steps following the end of the U.S. government's mandatory four-month investigation into the Khashoggi murder
● Responses from foreign governments and individuals threatened with press freedom sanctions
● The strategy behind press freedom sanctions: punishment, deterrent, both?
● Lessons learned for other countries considering their own Magnitsky laws

The Club, founded in 1908 and based in Washington, D.C., is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. Through its Press Freedom Committee, the Club defends transparency and free expression around the world. The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes press freedom worldwide, provides professional development, and offers scholarships to aspiring journalists.

Contact: Rachel Oswald at 202-486-9173 or

Event details:
National Press Club
529 14th Street NW (14th & F Streets)
13th Floor – Murrow Room
Washington, DC 20045
Monday, Feb. 11
1.30pm to 3pm

Registration required: Free for NPC members; $5 for general public

For More Information On This Event, Contact:

Julie Moos

NPC Members: There is a member promotion available for this event or you need to log in to register. Click here to log in and get the code.