Speakers

  • Irina Bokova is Director-General of UNESCO. A former Bulgarian ambassador to France and Monaco she was elected for four years in 2009. Other posts she has held include personal representative of the Bulgarian president to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and permanent delegate to UNESCO from 2005 to 2009. During her long and distinguished career, she also served as Bulgaria's representative to the United Nations and as her country's secretary of state for European integration and foreign minister. Born in 1952, she obtained an MBA from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and studied at the universities of Maryland and Harvard in the USA. Ms Bokova has long promoted the transition to European integration. As founder and chairperson of the European Policy Forum, she worked to overcome divisions in Europe and promote the values of dialogue, diversity, human dignity and rights. 
  • As Assistant Director-General, Abdul Waheed Khan has led UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector since 2001. In this capacity, Dr. Khan is responsible for advancing global standard setting, establishing international, regional and national policies, and coordinating the implementation of concrete projects for harnessing the power of communication and information for development. He provides global leadership in the promotion of freedom of expression and press freedom, media independence and pluralism, as well as the development of communication and access to information and knowledge through media and ICTs. His responsibilities also include fostering digital opportunities for social and economic inclusion, building alliances between public and private sector initiatives in communication and information, and mobilizing resources for enhancing the scope of the programmes of the Communication and Information Sector. Dr. Khan, who coordinated UNESCO’s contribution to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005), represents UNESCO at major international events and fora in the field of information and communication, such as the Steering Committee of the Global Alliance for ICT for Development (GAID) and the Executive Committee of Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP).  
  • Valentina Al-Ama, Ma'an Network Communications and Projects Director since 2005, received her BA in Accounting at Bethlehem University, where she worked as an Accountant during 2000 - 2003. Ms. Al-ama received her MBA from Maastricht School of Management (MSM) - Holland in 2004, specializing in “Corporate Strategy & Economic Policy”. She is a Certified Trainer in the field of Communications, Strategic Planning and Entrepreneurship by Bethlehem University in partnership with MSM following a one year program in Holland and Palestine during 2009. She has extensive experience in project cycle management and has successfully managed a number of multi-media projects (print, TV, Radio) implemented by Ma’an Network and funded by DFID- UK, EU, UNDP, UNESCO, SFCG, USAID, USIP, NED, Dutch and Danes representative offices in the Palestinian Authority. These multi-media projects focused on varied topics including good governance and transparency, human rights, gender equality, promotional campaigns for local and international companies and NGOs, training of journalists in print, TV and radio journalism, investigative reporting and safety training.
  • Zuhair Al-Jezairy was born in 1945 in Najef, Iraq and got a Degree in German literature at Baghdad University. He is currently Editor in Chief of the independent Iraqi news agency Aswat Al Iraq (Voices of Iraq). Previously, he was Editor in Chief of the daily Iraqi newspaper AL Mada. He covered the Lebanese Civil war, the Israeli- Arab war in 1973, Western Sahara, the Iraqi-Iranian war and the Kurdish war with the Iraqi Army. He was also TV producer for the Associated Press Television News London between 1994 and 2001. He has written 15 books, including 7 novels and stories collections; and was the director and scriptwriter of 7 television documentary films. 
  • Atmakusumah Astraatmadja is a media observer and currently senior lecturer of press ethics and press law at the journalism training centers Dr. Soetomo Press Institute (LPDS) and the School for Broadcast Media, both in Jakarta. He is a founding member of the Voice of Human Rights (VHR) News Center, the Legal Aid Institute for the Press, and the Indonesian Institute for the Independence of Judiciary. He was formerly executive director of the LPDS, chairman of the Indonesian first independent Press Council, chairman of the Ombudsman Team of the Jakarta-based Kompas daily, and managing editor of the daily Indonesia Raya. 
  • Nadezhda Azhgikhina has been the Executive Secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists since 2003. She received her Ph.D. from Moscow State University´s Faculty of Journalism. She has worked as journalist and editor in Russian national print media since 1982, and has written and edited 15 books on media, culture and gender issues. She is a member of Russian PEN, of the Union of Russian Writers, and of the Gender Council of the International Federation of Journalists. She also co-founded of the Association of Women Journalists (Russia). She has participated in many international conferences focused on culture, freedom of expression and human rights; as well as in a number of international projects on media development, human rights and gender.
  • David Banisar is Senior Legal Counsel for Article 19. He is also a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School and a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Law, University of Leeds. He has worked in the field of information policy for nearly 20 years and is the author of books, studies, and articles on freedom of information, freedom of expression, media policy, whistleblowing, communications security, and privacy. Previously he was Director of the FOI Project at Privacy International, a Research Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a co-founder and Policy Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, DC. He has also served as an advisor and consultant to numerous organizations including the Council of Europe, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the UN Development Programme and the Open Society Institute. He has a Juris Doctor in Law and Public Policy from The Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
  • Professor Guy Berger is head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. A former editor and political prisoner, he convened the first major conference on Freedom on Information in post-apartheid South Africa in 1995. More recently, he researched and edited the publication Media Legislation in Africa – a comparative legal survey, for UNESCO, in 2007. Berger describes himself as a media freedom activist, and has been deeply involved in the South African National Editors Forum since its inception in 1996. His current project is the staging of the 2nd World Journalism Education Congress in South Africa, 5-7 July 2010. 
  • Professor Michael Bromley is the Head of the School of Journalism and Communication and Professor of Journalism at The University of Queensland. He is a former journalist and worked for a number of daily newspapers in the UK, including the Daily Mail, for more than 20 years.He has taught Journalism and Media Studies at universities in the UK, the USA, where he was Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan, and Australia. He has published widely on journalism and the media, especially the press. He joined the School of Journalism and Communication in October 2004 as Deputy Head of School and was appointed Head in August 2007. He is a member of the editorial boards of Australian Journalism Review; Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism; Brazilian Journalism Research and Media International Australia, and a member of the Comité scientifique, Litteatures, Histoire des Idées, Images, Societés du Monde Anglophone (LISA). He was a member of the media consultative group to the Council of Europe initiative on the Vienna Declaration, and consultant to the Council of Europe for the production of learning materials for journalists and journalism educators and trainers on diversity reporting, and ethical issues in journalism in central and eastern Europe where he led seminars in 9 countries. He has also acted as a consultant to the newspaper group APN. In 2006 he was member of the Queensland Minister of Health’s advisory panel on Public Reporting. Professor Bromley is a long-time sports fan with specific attachments to AFL (particularly the Brisbane Lions), soccer (and his home town team Burnley in the English Premier League), NRL (Brisbane Broncos) and baseball (Oakland As).
  • Dr. Ulla Carlsson, Professor and Director of NORDICOM (Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Research) and the International Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and Media at University of Gothenburg in Sweden. She is a founding and continuing editor of the refereed journal Nordicom Review and the Clearinghouse’ Yearbooks. Ulla Carlsson has edited publications on media development, media statistics, media history, popular culture, media theory, children and media, the globalization of media, media governance, media literacy, etc. Most of Ulla Carlsson’s own research focuses on international communication and the globalization of media. She has published several books and reports in this field. Ulla Carlsson is a member of the board of many regional and international research organizations and committees. 
  • Taranath Dahal is Chairperson of the Freedom Forum and of the Citizen's Campaign for Right to Information (CCRI) in Nepal. He has contributed to draft the “Right to Information Bill”, the “Working Journalist Act and it's Regulation”, the “Long Term Policy on Communication and Information”, the “Journalist's Code of Ethics” and the “Right to Privacy Bill” in Nepal. He is Vice Chairperson of the Federation of Democratic NGOs (FEDEN), serves as General Secretary of the Nepalese Chapter of the International Press Institute (IPI) and is the Coordinator of the Press Freedom Grand Jury, Nepal. He is adviser to the the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ, of which he was from 2000 to 2002 and President between 2002-2005), as well as to the Broadcasting Association of Nepal (BAN), the Online Media Association (OMAN) and the Working Journalists Struggle Committee and various other organizations, newspapers and magazines. He is the Chairperson of the Araniko Broadcasting corporation(ABC), Banepa. He has a long-standing career in journalism, is currently the publisher of the Shree Avilekh Weekly, Sindhupalchok, Chief Editor of www.nepalpressfreedom.org and also works as a freelance reporter. He has authored, co-authored and edited numerous publications on press freedom, the right to information and the right to privacy, among other topics. Mr. Dahal has a BL from Tribhuwan University and postgraduate degree in Journalism Management (UK). 
  • Marie-Noelle Ferrieux Patterson is the president of Transparency International Vanuatu, and is also a founding member of the Vanuatu chapter of this globally - respected human rights NGO. She was born in France. Last year, Marie-Noelle received one of the French government’s highest awards, the Chevalier de la Legion d' Honneur, for her outstanding work in the area of public accountability and transparency.In 1991 Marie-Noelle became a naturalised Ni Vanuatu. In 1994 she became the first Ombudsman of the Republic of Vanuatu and held that position until 1999. She then held the position of Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs. Marie-Noelle was instrumental in the establishment of Transparency International Vanuatu (TI-Vanuatu) in 2000, and has been with the organisation ever since. Under Marie-Noelle’s leadership, TI-Vanuatu continues to be an extremely active chapter of Transparency International. Her ongoing contribution includes writing a weekly newspaper article in which she publicly draws attention to matters of public and private sector corruption in Vanuatu. In addition to the Chevalier de la Legion d' Honneur, Marie-Noelle has received a number of other awards for her work, including:Commonwealth Association for Public Administration & Management Award for innovation in the administrative sector and Pacific Island News Association (PINA) Award for best investigative journalism.Marie-Noelle holds a masters degree in urban planning and sociology, and a law degree. Her academic career in France, the United States and England also included the study of political sciences.She is married with two children and currently works as a legal practitioner.
  • Dr. Alexandra Föderl-Schmid is Editor-in-Chief of the daily Der Standard in Vienna. Born in Haslach, Upper Austria, she studied Communication and Media, Political Science and History Studies at the University of Salzburg, while simultaneously attending the Journalism School in Wels, Upper Austria (today’s OÖ Journalists Academy). Between 1988 and 1990 she was a freelance journalist with the weekly paper Mühlviertler Rundschau. Since 1990, she has worked for the Der Standard. She was first a freelance reporter for the daily in Linz and Vienna (1990-1993), later became the paper’s correspondent in Germany (1993-1998); and then served as Editor for the its Foreign Politics Department (1998-1999) before returning to Germany as a correspondent in 1999. In 2005, she became Der Standard’s EU correspondent in Brussels. In 2006, she was appointed Chief Editor of Department, and since July 2007 she holds her current position as the daily’s Editor-in-Chief. 
  • Francis Herman oversees the implementation of the ‘Vois Blong Yumi’ project with Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation. He is also Senior Consultant for a regional initiative, the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme. His roles are largely related to the development of public interest broadcasting. Prior to joining the ABC, Francis was the Chief Executive Officer for the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited. Francis believes that understanding the unique needs of each Pacific Island country and their national ethos is the key to effectively assisting them to identify and implement strategies to strengthen their respective organisations.
  • Alvaro Herrero is the Executive Director of the Association for Civil Rights. He holds a Law degree (National University of La Plata, Argentina), a Masters in Latin American Studies (Georgetown University, United States), and a Doctorate in Political Science (University of Oxford, England). Alvaro has received grants from the British Council, Inter-American Foundation, Antorchas Foundation, University of Oxford, and the Ministry of Education and Culture of Argentina. He has worked in an Argentine federal court and in international organizations and NGOs, such as the Inter-American Development Bank, Inter-American Dialogue, IFES, and the Pent Foundation. Alvaro Herrero has published articles, and he has carried out projects and consultancy work in fifteen Latin American countries. 
  • Ramzi Khoury was born in Jordan. He is a strategic communications consultant, journalist, film maker and columnist. He is the President of PINA, a telvision production company in Palestine and of Strategy Falcons LLC, an Arab Strategic communications company with offices throughout the world. Mr. Khoury started his career at Grenada Television Doccumentaries after earning a degree in political science from Richmond College in the United Kingdom. Khoury has held the positions of editor-in-chief of the Jordan-based English newspaper, The Arab Daily and Al Bawaba.com. Prior to that, he launched Abed Rabbo, the first political satire newspaper in Jordan, which was shut down for its harsh criticism of the government and was Chief Sub-Editor of the Jordan Times and Special Adviser to the Saudi Gazette and Okaz Group for Press & Publications. He was elected Secretary General of the Arab Media Organization, the union of private sector satellite stations which was later rejected at an Arab League conference of Arab ministers of information. He also managed the campaign of Toujan Feisal, the first woman to be elected to Jordan's lower house of parliament. 
  • Frank La Rue is the United Nation´s Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Opinion and Expression. Holder of a postgraduate degree in U.S. foreign policy from Johns Hopkins University, he has worked on human rights for the past 25 years. He is the founder of the Centre for Legal Action for Human Rights (CALDH) which became the first Guatemalan NGO to bring cases of human rights violations to the Inter-American System and to promote economic, social and cultural rights. As a human rights activist, his name was presented to the Nobel Peace Prize committee in 2004. He has previously served as a Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala, as a Human Rights Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, as President of the Governing Board of the Centro-American Institute of Social Democracy Studies and as a consultant to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Senator Joe Ludwig was born in Longreach, Qld. He is married, lives in Brisbane with his wife and two daughters and began his career as an Industrial Inspector and Training Consultant, before moving to the Queensland Branch of the Australian Workers’ Union. He is also a Barrister and served for over 10 years with the Australian Army Reserve. Senator Ludwig has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland , a Bachelor of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University . An ALP member since 1978, he was elected to the Senate in 1998 and 2004. Following the 2004 election, he was appointed to the Shadow Ministry as Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs and Shadow Attorney General. Prior to this he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General and for Homeland Security. He was Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate from 2001 to 2007. After the 2007 election, Senator Ludwig was sworn in as Minister for Human Services and Manager of Government Business in the Senate. On 8 June 2009, he was appointed Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary. Senator Ludwig retains his role as Manager of Government Business in the Senate.
  • Professor John McMillan has recently been appointed Australia's Information Commissioner Designate. He is concurrently the Commonwealth of Australia's Ombudsman. He was appointed in March 2003 and was reappointed in 2008 for a further five year term. He is a member of the Administrative Review Council, which advises the Attorney-General on administrative law matters. In 2007 he was appointed on an acting basis for six months to be the first Integrity Commissioner to establish the new Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity. Professor McMillan was also appointed to the Security Legislation Review Committee, to review Australian counter terrorism laws (2005-6); and to a committee to review the Legislative Instruments Act (2008). Prior to his appointment as Ombudsman he was the Alumni Professor of Administrative Law at the Australian National University, from which he is on leave during his term as Ombudsman. He has had a varied career in law, government and community affairs. He was a founding member of the Freedom of Information Campaign Committee, which led the public campaign for enactment of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and is an Executive Member of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association. Professor McMillan was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List 2010. 
  • Toby Mendel is the executive director of the Center for Law and Democracy, a Canadian-based human rights non-governmental organisation. The centre provides legal expertise regarding foundational rights for democracy, including the right to information, freedom of expression and the rights to assembly and association. Prior to that he spend 12 years as senior director for law at Article 19, an NGO focused on freedom of expression. He has provided expertise on freedom of expression and the right to information to organisations including the World Bank, the UN and numerous governments and NGOs in countries all over the world. He has played a leading role in drafting legislation in the areas of the right to information and media regulation. Before joining Article 19, he worked as a senior human rights consultant with Oxfam Canada and as a human rights policy analyst at the Canadian International Development Agency. He has published extensively on a range of freedom of expression, right to information, communication rights and refugee issues, including comparative legal and analytical studies on public service broadcasting, the right to information and broadcast policy. 
  • Robert Mukombozi, investigative journalist, has covered wars, corruption and killings in Rwanda , Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has been arrested, kidnapped and shot at. In April 2008 he was deemed persona non grata and given five minutes to leave Rwandan soil. He has not seen his family since. Now resettled in Brisbane by UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, Robert explains the challenges of reporting in a post-conflict state and how his refusal to compromise journalist principles led him to be expelled from his country.
  • Edetaen Ojo is Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), an NGO based in Lagos, which works to promote media freedom and freedom of expression. Mr. Ojo is Convenor of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a global network of 88 freedom of expression organizations with headquarters in Toronto, Canada, and Vice Chair of the Media Foundation for West Africa, an Accra-based NGO working in the defence of media freedom in West Africa. He has worked on Freedom of Information issues in Nigeria, regionally and internationally over the last 14 years and is a member of the Working Group on the African Platform on Access to Information (APAI). 
  • P V Satheesh is currently the Director of the Deccan Development Society, a rural development organization that works with rural dalit [India’s most marginalized social group] women from the poorest families. He holds a post graduate degree in Development Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, India. He has worked in media for over two decades, a major part of which was spent as Senior Producer in Doordarshan, India’s national television channel. Mr Satheesh taught Journalism and Television in several Indian universities, apex educational institutions such as University Grants Commission [UGC] and the National Council for Educatonal Research and Training [NCERT] and at the Asian Institute for Broadcast Development [AIBD], Kuala Lumpur. For the last 25 years he has been a development activist. In this capacity as Director of Deccan Development Society, he set up the first Community Media Trust in India, composed of rural non literate women from disprivileged backgrounds, who now make their own television films. He also set up the first rural community radio in India, exclusively managed by women and dalits, which was the first of such radio stations in Asia. Mr Satheesh has has been a founder and leader of India’s Community Radio Forum, and has written extensively on the issues of gender and community control over their resources, market and media.
  • Dan Southerland is vice president and executive editor of congressionally funded Radio Free Asia, which provides news and information to Asian listeners whose governments restrict the media. From 1996 to 1998, Southerland oversaw the launch of RFA’s nine language services, as well as eight overseas offices. Prior to joining RFA, he spent 18 years as a foreign correspondent in Asia. From 1985 to 1990, he was The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Beijing. Southerland was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Tiananmen uprising and crackdown in 1989. Southerland also worked for 13 years for The Christian Science Monitor, based in Saigon, Hong Kong, and Washington, D.C. He covered the Vietnam War, conflicts in Laos and Cambodia, the India-Pakistan War of 1971, the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, and the fall of Saigon. In 1995, he was awarded the Edward Weintal Prize for distinguished diplomatic reporting. Southerland holds a BA from the University of North Carolina, an MS in journalism from Columbia University, and an MS from Harvard, where he studied Chinese and Japanese history and languages.
  • Aidan White is the general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists based in Brussels, Belgium. He joined the IFJ from The Guardian in 1987. Aidan has worked as a reporter, feature writer, sub-editor, and editorial manager. He is an active trade unionist, campaigning for the rights of journalists worldwide and has written extensively on the social and professional conditions of journalism. Under his leadership, the IFJ has grown into the largest organisation of journalists in the world, with solidarity programmes that cover the globe. 
  • Lisa Williams-Lahari is a Pacific journalist and media activist with a background in print and television and experience in radio journalism who now sets up office where ever she can find a power source and an internet connection. She is a founding member of the Pacific media freedom body the Pacific Freedom Forum, and along with other women in journalism co-founded the Pacific WAVE (Women Advancing a Vision of Empowerment) Media Network. A projects advisor to ONE News Television in the Solomon Islands, she is a former executive member of the Pacific Islands News Association and has a keen interest in strengthening media regionalism and effective communications for development in the Oceania region.
Back to top