Global Freedom of Expression

4 May

Press Freedoms in Decline: How Threats Against the Media Have Evolved Over the Past 15 Years

  • 10:00am-11:30am ET (New York)
  • Riverside Church, Conference Room 527 (5th Floor of the MLK Tower)
    91 Claremont Ave, corner of 120th Street, Between Broadway and Riverside Drive
    New York, NY 10027
    United States

Sponsored by: Columbia GFoE and Media Defence 

In this roundtable, moderated by Carlos Gaio, CEO of Media Defence, we will discuss the various and worrying legal threats journalists have faced over the past 15 years. Media Defence was created in 2008 to respond to a growing need: to provide legal support to journalists and independent media globally. We will discuss the type of threats and lawsuits that some of our panelists have faced over the years, how legal harassment and methods to silence journalists have evolved, what the threats look like now and what can be done to counter these, so that journalists can continue to report, freely.


  • Hawley Johnson, Associate Director, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression
  • Carlos Gaio, CEO of Media Defence 
  • Aryeh Neier, Human Rights Activist and Co-founder of Human Rights Watch
  • Khadija Ismayilova, Azerbaijani Investigative Journalist, UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize Winner
  • Dariia Opryshko, Media lawyer and author from Kyiv, Ukraine 
  • Fatu Camara, Gambian Journalist 
  • Dana Green, Senior Counsel for The New York Times

Dr. Hawley Johnson is the Associate Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression. Since 2014 she has managed the development of the Case Law Database which hosts analyses of seminal freedom of expression court rulings from more than 130 countries.



Carlos Gaio is a Brazilian human rights lawyer, recently appointed CEO of Media Defence.




Aryeh Neier is an American human rights activist who co-founded Human Rights Watch and served as the president of the Open Society Institute. He is a former National Director of the American Civil Liberties Union and adjunct professor of law at New York University.



Khadija Ismayilova is a journalist and investigator from Azerbaijan, and 2016 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize Winner.




Fatou Camara is a television presenter and journalist from The Gambia.





Dr. Dariia Opryshko is a media lawyer and author from Kyiv, Ukraine, with experience in freedom of expression and international cooperation. 




Dana Green is Senior Counsel at The New York Times Company. She advises on newsroom matters, including newsgathering and investigations, conducts prepublication review, and litigates libel, Freedom of Information, intellectual property, and other matters.