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une 9, 2021, 3:05 p.m. ET

After 15 years as the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon said on Wednesday that he would step down by the end of the year.

Founded in 1981, the Committee to Protect Journalists is a nonprofit organization that defends the rights of journalists around the world. Mr. Simon, 56, joined in 1997 and has been in charge since 2006.

In an interview, Mr. Simon said that, when he joined the group, he was hopeful about the ability of journalists to do their jobs safely. But after more than three decades of helping to secure the releases of hundreds of imprisoned or detained journalists around the world, he has lost some of that optimism.

“Governments are increasingly taking aggressive action toward journalists, and there are very few consequences,” Mr. Simon said.

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