Candidates for election to the 2021-2025 GFMD Steering Committee.


Ahead of the GFMD General Assembly in 2021 the following representatives of GFMD members put themselves forward:

1. REGIONAL - Asia, Pacific and Oceania

2 Steering Committee members elected

Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary-General, Pakistan Press Foundation

Dear Colleagues,

I hereby submit my candidacy for the GFMD Steering Committee.

I have been privileged to serve as the member of the Steering Committee of GMFD and have contributed actively to its deliberations. I have represented GFMD as the Co-Chair of Media Freedom Coalitions Consultative Network (MFC-CN) and at High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations.

I have raised issues of concern to Asian media and media development organisations in deliberations of GFMD and other international events. I believe my experience during the first term as GFMD Steering Committee members will serve to be even more effective in brining issues related to media development in Asia to the forefront of GFMD priorities.

I now seek your vote and support for reelection as a member of the Steering Committee next term.

I am the Secretary General of PPF and a co-chair of the Media Freedom Coalition’s Consultative Network. PPF has been working on media development and to defend freedom of expression and safety of journalists in at national and intentionally for almost three decades.

The issues facing Pakistan also confront several developing countries and PPF has sought to raise such issues at international level. PPF produced shadow reports the state of Pakistani media for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as well as for the United Nations Human Rights Committee. I also participated in the High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations in 2019, where I lobbied for SDG 16.10 dealing with safety of journalists and right to information. Please see

As the Secretary General of PPF, I have part of initiatives of many international and intergovernmental organizations including the European Union, UNESCO, UNDP, National Endowment for Democracy, Internews, International Media Support, Open Society and Free Press Unlimited.

I have been elected to the board of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) several times and have also served as its Convener; I have previously served on the board of International Press Institute (IPI); as a member of the UNESCO Advisory Group on Press Freedom and as a member of the jury of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. I have been a Chevening Fellow as well as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

I would be honored to serve as the member of the Global Forum for Media Development and will appreciate your vote and support.

Prue Clarke, Co-founder, Executive Director, Editor, New Narratives

New Narratives is a women-led media US-registered media development organization working in low income countries. We focus on building the independent business and editorial strength of local news organizations in the belief that, by giving all people a voice and keeping leaders accountable, we promote more equitable, inclusive societies.

Our work so far has focused on West Africa and the Pacific Islands. We would welcome an opportunity to deepen our engagement with GFMD and our colleagues in this space and represent media working in the settings with the lowest resources.

2. REGIONAL - Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia

2 Steering Committee members elected

Drew Sullivan, Co-founder and Publisher, Journalism Development Network/OCCRP

I have been involved in the GFMD since at least 2008. I've always felt the concept of GFMD was great and that a forum for media development could be a powerful tool for improving our craft, bringing more money into the industry and raising the profiles of the people we work with. OCCRP is a hybrid organization - we're part implementer that supports and develops non-profit investigative reporting in Eastern Europe and Eurasia but we're also one of the world's largest investigative organization by staff and stories published. We've been an innovator in investigative reporting. Our industry and the media world is changing fast and there are many new needs we could address and get in front of to help guide donors. We need a strong, well thought out vision for where GFMD and our industry is going and what we can become. I'd like to help chart those new opportunities. We need to make GFMD a strong partner to all of us and a leader and catalyst of change - not a follower.

Marija Ristic, Regional Director, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network - BIRN

Representing one of the leading media organization from the Balkans, the participation will enhance not just current collaboration between BIRN and other GFMD members, but also help GFMD to develop, structure and focus its work in the region.

Having in mind the needs for reform of the media sector, the membership can also improve access to information about current media development trends of not just BIRN but also it’s large group of beneficiaries.

3. REGIONAL - Europe (Northern, Southern & Western)

1 Steering Committee member elected

Lars Boering, Director, European Journalism Centre - EJC

EJC is a member of GFMD and has close collaborations already. We will continue to do so. I an age in which threats and challenges are numerous it is crucial to continue to work on global cooperation and the exchange of ideas.

EJC exists to support, develop and to strengthen journalism and we believe that sharing knowledge and network is part of our work. EJC and GFMD have many things in common but also have unique qualities. We are happy to share those with all members.

Personally I believe that sharing knowledge and learning from others is an important part of life. I will be happy to contribute with my time to further GFMD.

4. REGIONAL - Latin America and the Caribbean

2 Steering Committee members elected

Jaime Abello Banfi, Managing Director and Co-founder, Fundación Gabo

As founding member of GFMD and head of an organization with substantial regional/multinational coverage and impact, I am thrilled of the possibility of sharing 26 years of know-how and experience in the media development field with the Steering Committee and the leadership of GFMD to keep focus, disseminate message and strengthen the network at global and regional level in a challenging context for media and democracies.

Mijal Iastrebner, Co-founder and Managing Director, SembraMedia

I would be honoured to be part of the GFMD Steering Committee. I had the opportunity to collaborate with GFMD and participate in fascinating discussions. I truly believe that GFMD integrative nature is a key element for the media ecosystem. As a young leader of a media development organization, I felt included and seen by the GFMD community. I trust and engage with organizations that have their doors open for new people, new ideas. I've seen GFMD manage and integrate their community with a great skill. I would love to contribute updated information on independent digital native media and their complex realities in Latin America. I will have a lot to share about media viability and entrepreneurial journalism training. I'm really excited to work with other colleagues to strengthen the organization and expand it's impact. I pledge to do my best, either as a member of the Steering Committee or as a member of the GFMD.

Wesley Gibbings, Executive Member, Association of Caribbean Media Workers

Wesley Gibbings is a freelance journalist, newspaper columnist, television presenter and media trainer based in Trinidad and Tobago who is active in more than 12 countries and territories of the Caribbean.

He has been in the media business for close to 40 years, has trained journalists throughout the region and authored/co-authored a number of training manualsfor use by Caribbean journalists.

He has worked as a journalism lecturer at the Caribbean School for Media and Communication (CARIMAC), University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica; and served as Communication Adviser to the Caribbean Community Secretariat in Guyana and the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute in Saint Lucia.

In 2014, Gibbings was engaged as elections training coordinator for the Media Development Authority of Fiji prior to the staging of elections that year – the first since a 2006 coup d'état. He has conducted training in the coverage of elections throughout the Caribbean and has, himself, covered numerous regional elections.

Gibbings currently serves as Vice President of the Jamaica-based Media Institute of the Caribbean (MIC), is an executive member of the Association ofCaribbean Media Workers (ACM), sits on the governing Council of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), and has served on the Steering Committee of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD).

He has written extensively on Caribbean media affairs and has presented papers on a wide range of subjects related to press freedom and media developmentat international conferences and seminars.

In 2017, Gibbings was recognised for his journalism and press freedom activism by the US National Association of Black Journalists and received theorganisation’s Foreign Journalist Award. He is also a published poet with five collections to his name.

5. REGIONAL - Middle East and North Africa

2 Steering Committee members elected

SKeyes has been a member of GFMD for many years and was first elected to the Steering Committee in 2016. In seeking a second term, SKeyes will share its experience in projects led, owned and designed by organizations based in the global south, which in turn, create mechanisms for international media development groups to coordinate in order to better serve locally-identified needs. This experience counters the "business as usual" trend of north-designed and imposed processes and coordination mechanisms. The MENA region is also one of the most dangerous areas for press freedom while being one of the most dynamic terrains for alternative, independent media outlets. SKeyes has been at the front and center of initiatives to support independent media thanks to its unique international network, its connection with the ground and track record in audience research. SKeyes was also the initiator of one of the largest media recovery initiatives following the August 4, 2020 Beirut port explosion, which garnered unprecedented support from international partners, facilitated by GFMD’s unique convening and coordination expertise. This is a special connection with GFMD that SKeyes aims to perpetuate in its second term.

Roula Mikhael, Executive Director, Maharat Foundation

Maharat Foundation has established itself as a force for the positive, sustainable development of media voices in the MENA region through research and knowledge sharing, capacity building and policy advocacy. Maharat has been informing the debate on media viability in MENA since 2016 through resources production such as Mapping media startups in Lebanon, Jordan and Morocco, co-authoring of “Rethinking Media Viability in the Digital Age”, a publication by DW (Maharat’s executive, Roula Mikhael), testing a pilot study with DWA of the Media Viability Indicators in Lebanon and series of online tutorials on media viability issues produced for journalists, in the Arabic language, by its experts and published on its DMVLab website. In addition to providing platforms for exchange and knowledge through the regional and international conferences and workshops. Maharat has been contributing in “Rethinking Journalism Studies in the MENA" to mainstream entrepreneurship in journalism education.

Maharat has continued to provide leading edge training on current media issues and trends especially coping with the digital transformation and the emergence of alternative media platforms, including training on media management, business model development, audience analysis, inclusive quality journalism, media literacy and innovative formats. Maharat’s approach to capacity building is solutions oriented, tailored, strongly influenced by user centered methodologies such as design thinking.

Furthermore, Maharat has been leading advocacy actions to reform media laws and to promote safety and protection of journalists in MENA and has been informing the debate on legal ecosystems for media and free information through position papers and through its periodic Maharat Magazine. By following and monitoring Internet Freedom situation, Maharat contributed in influencing the public debate related to Internet Governance by highlighting its Human Rights Dimensions and is currently chairing the Lebanon IGF MAG representing the civil society. Maharat has been granted the ECOSOC consultative status that contributes in taking the organization advocacy efforts to the international level.

Maharat has built expertise and has documented best practices and lessons learnt that can be shared within GFMD Steering committee in order to influence GFMD interventions and strategies to ensure more equitable representation across the world, especially that there is a gap in MENA region and voices from the region should have a seat in the discussions of any solutions that will drive independent media forward across the world in such a hostile and challenging environment in MENA. Maharat has previous experience to serve in international boards such as IFEX.

I value a lot GFMD work to get member together to share knowledge and network. I would like (through ARIJ) to contribute to get our region issues into the international arena and find further ways for cross-border collaboration.

GFMD is one of the rare professional and passionate platforms of getting practitioners to interact with donors and opinion leaders; to promote accountability, access to information and ethical independent journalism.

6. REGIONAL - North America

1 Steering Committee member elected

GFMD plays a crucial role in coordinating and advocating for the media development community. It functions as an important mechanism that strengthens all organizations who work in this space. As a Steering Committee member, I'd like to contribute to guiding GFMD's strategy and approach to ensure that it is serving its members effectively and contributing to the visibility of and support for the field. As the new president of ICFJ, I would bring a unique perspective.

ICFJ, with an active network of more than 125,000 journalists, works extensively not just globally, but across the United States. We have developed a number of programs that support journalists and news outlets, including accelerators to help BIPOC news media achieve financial sustainability and build new products, and branding for BIPOC journalists. We also partner with hundreds of newsrooms across the U.S., building and deepening connections between them and international journalists and media organizations.

These programs are focused on a range of issues, from improving election reporting to incubating news entrepreneurs. Our research arm examines trends -- from the effects of the pandemic to online harassment to technology needs -- affecting newsrooms in eight regions of the world, including North America.

We share our learnings from all of our programs with our network, building peer-to-peer connections between journalists everywhere. We have a diversified funding base, from both private and government donors, mostly U.S. based.

I have a deep understanding of the differences between these different kinds of funders, which I think would be of value to GFMD.

7. REGIONAL - Sub-Saharan Africa

2 Steering Committee members elected

Dr. Haron Mwangi, Director, Programmes and Resource Mobilization, Panos Institute Great Lakes - IPGL

Haron Mwangi has an accomplished career in media and communication practice. He is an expert with extensive experience in media governance, freedom expression, access to information, media policy and regulation, media innovation and sustainability. He has successfully offered leadership in media law and policy, legislative processes, and building consensus between the media, civil so-ciety and the governments on regulation systems in Africa. He has extensively trained on media freedom and democracy in Africa and Europe. He has also consulted widely on access to infor-mation, open governance in both private and public sector and as well as researched extensively in media economics, role of civil society and media coalition in media reforms and democracy in Subsaharan, and media regulation.

He is the immediate former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), a self-regulatory body for the Kenyan media industry and has closely worked with media regulators and journalists across continents. He has experience in insti-tutional development and management, leadership and governance and has held top management positions in media houses, government and private sector in Kenya.

He is currently the Director of Programs, PANOS Great lakes, Regional Coordinator for GFMD International Media Policy and Advisory Centre (IMPACT) for Sub-Saharan Africa region, Thematic mentor for the international Training programme in media and Democracy in East and Central Africa funded by SIDA, consult-ant for several international media development partners including FOJO, IMS, Global Reporting , NIRAS, UNESCO, CHARM , CIVICUS, USAID, SIDA and a visiting professor of Media and Com-munication, University of Rwanda, Kigali. He holds a PhD and MA in Media and Communications of the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Malcolm W. Joseph, Executive Director, Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding

I am Malcolm W. Joseph Executive Director of Center for Media Studies’ and Peacebuilding, CEMESP. The organization evolved as a national NGO in the post war context to have become a leading media development entity to contribute to democratic renewal, fragile peace consolidation and protection of human rights in Liberia.

We have been engaged in media capacity building- conducting training on diverse themes benefiting thousands of journalists, embarked on research and publications; documenting attacks on journalists, working on media reforms, behavior change messaging to contain pandemic, involved in internet governance and digital rights. Promotion among other things through strategic planning, CEMESP had to assume a broader stakeholders approach which means that other stockholders were targeted in our interventions to include non-media actors.

This shift became necessary to assume a multistakeholders approach for some good governance related projects that requires blending of journalists, community base organizations and local leaders in building accountability frameworks, creating space for civic participation and giving voice to people to demand accountability from duty bearers. Most of these interventions demands networking with local and external partners in the sub region and the global scene. It has exposed me to new skills and gaining insights into international legal framework relevant for promotion of Media freedom, freedom of expression, civil liberties and gender mainstreaming.

I have been able to share platforms with organizations that share our values, bring out lessons and tap into other contextual experience that have shaped the way we do things in impacting our constituents and the wider Liberian society.

Against this background I am confident that I can be of added value on the GFMD steering committee to inject my years of leadership experience in Media development garnered from dealing with a range of problem solving situations beyond my institutions but at the level of coalition and what has been imbibed from networking to work in in diversity and multinational setting for shared goal to produce result.

Vusumuzi Sifile, Executive Director, Panos Institute Southern Africa

Being a steering committee member presents me and my organisation with an opportunity to meaningfully contribute to shaping the media development agenda, and contributing to the increased profiling of the GFMD among like-minded entities in Sub Saharan Africa, particularly within the Southern Africa region where we work. While this opportunity is already available through our participation in various membership activities, being in the steering committee will enable us to do this on a higher scale, with a focus on building the profile of the GFMD in Southern Africa and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.

There is great potential for multi-sectoral and multi stakeholder collaboration in shaping the media development agenda in sub Saharan Africa, and the GFMD has a role to play in the realisation and full exploitation of this potential. My being a member of the steering committee will therefore put me in a better position to work with other members to share knowledge and use it to shape the media development agenda for Sub Saharan Africa.

Although there are a number of media development initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa, their work is largely disjointed and uncoordinated. The initiatives are working in isolation, resulting in them failing to tap into each other’s strengths. Also, most of these efforts are not adequately documented. It is my hope therefore that as a steering committee member, I will work with other stakeholders to enhance the coordination of media development stakeholders in Sub Saharan Africa, and contribute to similar efforts in other sub regions, working with and through fellow steering committee members.

I also believe that I am bringing into the Steering Committee a wealth of experience, having worked in a number of media initiatives, including developmental news agencies.

Zoe Titus, Director, Namibia Media Trust

I have followed the work of the GFMD closely and was involved in efforts, in 2008, to establish the AFMD. In my former position as regional director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) I supported the candidacies of both Jeanette Minnie and Luckson Chipare who served on the Steering Committee. I also supported, whenever requested to do so, any advocacy efforts of the GFMD, particularly on the recognition of access to information in the sustainable development goals.

Thus, my interest and passion for media development is well noted and documented. Having worked for the promotion of media freedom and freedom of expression in Africa in various capacities for more 20 years, I am confident that I can provide valuable input and act as a resource for the GFMD and its global programme.

Most importantly I can bring well-considered perspectives from southern Africa and ensure representation of an often under-represented region. I have always valued the importance of networking and collaboration, notions that are central to the GFMD's operational strategy.

Given the opportunity to do so, I would certainly make every effort to promote the GFMD programme to ensure its reach and relevance globally and particuarly to potential partners in Africa.


2 Steering Committee members elected

Milica Pesic, Executive Director, Media Diversity Institute

• Some studies show that the massively spread dis/mis/malinformation on social and conventional poorly professional media are very often related to one or several diversity categories – to gender, religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation more than others. The same goes for Covid-19 which has affected in case of the UK 30% more people of diversity background. At the same time some far-right conventional media and social media blame the same minority communities for spreading the pandemic. In the post-truth era and still growing populism globally, this needs to be properly researched and MDI would be happy to help GFMD do a full research of the issues. In this way GFMD will be able to take a stand on the issues with policy makers.

• The GFMD needs to collaborate more with media educators (so, journalism academics and future journalists are truly familiar with the industry needs; journalism courses are theory-practice balanced; the research done by academics is truly useful to the industry. MDI has worked with more than 80 journalism faculties across the world and can share its experience with the GFMD). Our MA Course Diversity and the Media, jointly developed and run by MDI and University of Westminster could be of a help in modelling cooperation between media development orgs and media educators.

• MDI has a trusteed flagger status with several IT companies which has been built through years long - and defined as ‘frienamy’ - communication with FB, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and soon with Tik-Tok. We would like to offer our experience and contacts so GFMD can more directly challenge the power IT companies have gained over the governments (case of Australia) and over conventional media which are right now – when accuracy, fairness, balance and inclusion a crucial - actually not the gatekeepers of the news.

• In the situation when mushrooming consulting groups win the most attractive contracts to work on media development issues even when they have no experience in this field, there is a need for GFMD to advocate with the EC and governments (UK) so that media development NGOs have a better treatment than being ‘bid candies’.

• To look for solutions regarding geographical disbalance in the GFMD SC. Right now Eurasia with 4.6bm has the same number of representatives as North America with 600m and Western Europe with 200m population.

Tabani Moyo, Acting Regional Director, Media Institute of Southern Africa - MISA

I'm a young male leader with more than 15 years’ experience in media development, communications, journalism, marketing, and business administration. I’m the current Acting Regional Director for the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), a media advocacy and lobby network with a presence in eight (8) African countries.

I have served for boards in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, Africa and globally in those past 15 years. In Zimbabwe I’m the immediate past chairperson of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, a network of the countries’ media development advocacy groups. I’m the immediate past spokesperson of the Crisis Coalition, a network of 83 organisation fighting for human rights in Zimbabwe. I’m in the board of the Zimbabwe Internet Governance Forum (ZIGF) and a Steering Committee member of the Southern Africa Internet Governance Forum (SAIGF). I’m an immediate past board member of the Africa Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) and a board member at the IFEX, a global network that defends freedom of expression. At IFEX, I chair the governance committee for the board.

I’m also a member of the African Commission on Human & People’s Rights’ Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and access to information. Further, I was one of the six-member technical committee members that supported the previous Special Rapporteur on expression, Commissioner Mute in successfully reviewing the Declaration of Principles of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression to include the internet as a right in 2018.

In 2021, in commemoration of the Windhoek Declaration on Independent and Diverse Media, I was appointed the moderator of the African Forum that reviewed the declaration and came up with the Windhoek Declaration on independent and diverse media +30 which adopts to the changes that to place for the past 30 years when the declaration was crafted and endorsed by the peoples of the world. The session took place from the 29th to the 30th of April 2021.

Through hosting the annual regional multi-stakeholder’s internet governance forum, I have been leading a team that has shaped the regulation of the internet in southern Africa. In addition, I have been instrumental in challenging internet shutdowns in Southern Africa mainly in Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Democratic Republic of Congo. This is in addition to shaping the global agenda on media platforms as a key resource person and expert in the subject matter.

Being in the steering committee will provide me an opportunity to serve a diverse organisation with diverse membership and by so doing building communities that last. As noted in this write up, I bring the depth of exposure in high level engagements and appreciation of serving diverse membership.

I'm a qualified journalist, marketer and business administrator. I m currently studying towards Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) focusing on the impact of social blogs on reputation management in the telecommunications industries in Southern Africa. I m a fellow and chartered marketer with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) (UK); hold MBA; Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing; BA Media Studies; BBA Marketing and diploma in journalism and communications.

The combination of my academic, professional pursuits and experience position me ahead of the curve towards positioning the Forum to tackle global conversations on media development, while being localised in supporting its members towards attainment of its goals.

Toby Mendel, Executive Director, Centre for Law and Democracy

I have represented the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) at the GFMD for a number of years now. As such, I have been actively involved in GFMD activities and work.

Among other things, over the last couple of years, I have, in collaboration with other CLD staff, run a workshop for GFMD members (on Navigating the Legal Regulation of Digital Communications), supported (informally) GFMD in preparing research papers, provided (again informally) advice to GFMD on reforming its constitution, and participated actively in various GFMD discussions, including some run by GFMD in external bodies (like the IGF).

As such, joining the Steering Committee would be a natural extension and formalisation of this work. I bring to GFMD peak level legal and policy expertise on freedom of expression and media freedom in almost all of its aspects, very extensive networks of contacts at different levels (civil society, national and inter-governmental), some 25 years of experience working on freedom of expression and media freedom issues, and senior level management experience. If elected to the Steering Committee, I would participate actively in its work.

Toby Mendel's bio can be found here.


3 Steering Committee members elected

Caroline Vuillemin, General Director, Fondation Hirondelle

Fondation Hirondelle, through my candidacy, is interested in being a member of the GFMD Steering committee because we are a long-lasting member of the Forum, and we feel that it plays a crucial role for the media development sector. In the recent past, the question of the role of independent media and quality information in times of crisis has been on top of many agenda world-wide, and this is the mission of Fondation Hirondelle for 26 years: providing useful and quality information to populations who need it when they face major crises.

Thus our contribution to the Steering committee will be to bring the field expertise from media working in the most fragile contexts, mainly in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa – but non exclusively, we have also been implementing activities in Asia, in Myanmar, Bangladesh, or supporting local partners in Pakistan or Nepal.

Media professionals and journalists from these fragile countries in Africa or Asia are often under-represented in international media forums. Fondation Hirondelle is supportive of the creation of "associate members" and hopes to bring in many of its current partners to the GFMD as "associates", in order to for them to share their field experiences, and contribute to the global discussions on Media Development.

Jan Lublinski, Head of Department, Policy and Learning, Deutsche Welle Akademie

I would like to continue my engagement for GFMD. In the past years I have served on the Steering Committee and have taken over the role of Secretary-General in the Executive Committee. In this function I have closely worked with Mira Milosevic (director) and Ricardo Corredor (chair of GFMD). I have actively supported the everyday business of this growing organisation and also helped advance the new strategy for GFMD.

In the coming years I would like to help GFMD build on its recent achievements. Just to name three: 1) We have, thanks to Mira's outstanding leadership, managed to develop a sound financial basis for GFMD and a strong secretariat. 2) We have a new, expert-driven GFMD IMPACT project that brings donors to our table. 3) With the new constitution we have a dedicated strategy to bring more regional media development organisations on board and let them take over more responsibility for GFMD.

My short bio: I worked for many years as a reporter for newspapers, magazines and German radio. Wrote a PhD on newsroom research. Then became interested in training and consultancy. I helped the World Felderation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) over six years to run a broad mentoring-project for science reporters in Africa and the Middle East. Then joined DW Akademie, the media development branch of Deutsche Welle, and built the “research and evaluation”-team. Two years ago I became the head of the “Policy and Learning” department. And I think we, the media development professionals, need to cooperate better to improve the impact of our work.

GFMD, our active global network, is more important than ever - in a time when democracy is under serious attack. In the coming years we will need to use all our forces, experience and contacts. This is why I would like to win the mandate to continue in the steering committee for a second term.

Jeanne Bourgault, President and CEO, Internews

As one of the larger international media development organizations, Internews has a global reach and perspective that hopefully helps GFMD in attracting new members and responding to opportunities and challenges on a global scale. We care passionately about advancing the media development sector, and firmly believe that GFMD is the right organization to lead this work. We have been members of GFMD since the beginning, so bring a historical perspective to the Steering Committee.

Lars Tallert, Head of International Policy and Develoment, Fojo Media Institute, Linnaeus University

35 years of experience as a journalist and advisor to media organisations, NGOs, UN-agencies and governments. The last 10 years I have, jointly with partners and collegues, developed Fojo's international operations and increased our turnover with 600 %. As Sweden's representative to the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO/IPDC, and as a long-time UN-consultant, I have a fairly good understanding of the UN-system.

As a member of the GFMD Steering Committee I would be dedicated to:

  • increase the capacity of smaller member organisations' ability to apply for funds, making them more independent

  • explore how journalism better can contribute to environmental, social and economic sustainability while at the same time improving the financial sustainability of the media

  • promote GFMD in the UN-dialogue around the SDGs, not only focusing on 16.10 but demonstrating how good, sustainable journalism is a prerequisite for reaching all the SDGs.

Maha Taki, Senior Advisor, Media Development, BBC Media Action

Working for over 10 years as projects director in settings such as Lebanon, Turkey and Libya and now leading BBC Media’s Actions learning and strategy on media development, I have a strong dedication to knowledge sharing and collaboration and a track record of managing teams, partners and relationships with various stakeholders under testing circumstances.

I have a PhD in media and communication and co-researcher and writer of the feasibility study for the International fund for Public Interest media, a study that details how a global fund would be an effective vehicle for supporting media, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Having grown up in Lebanon (and now in London), with a personal history of exile, I believe the best learning, ideas and exchanges come together when there is a variety of different voices from multiple cultures. I often draw inspiration from, collaborate with and invite exchanges from different fields of cultural production and have a particular drive to bring the voices of those most underrepresented to the fore. For example, I am volunteer lead programmer of Otherfield film festival, an annual festival for filmmakers, that aims to stimulate and provoke new pathways and directions in creative nonfiction filmmaking and overcome the barriers that often exist between the professionals and those who often don’t have access to film schools or networks in the field. As programmer I have brought the work of female Arab filmmakers to audiences who would not usually have access to these voices.

I believe that there needs to be a stronger shaping of the media development policy agenda from the global south. I’m particularly interested in working with GFMD to foster more enabling and inclusive learning and collaborative environments that bring together the pockets of knowledge and experiences from across the world so that the advocacy agenda is truly bottom up and reflects the needs of all members, not just those most visible and vocal.

Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy.

Michael Mirny, Senior Director, Information and Media, IREX

IREX’s membership in GFMD tremendously benefits our organization and beneficiaries across the globe. Many of our staff are members of various GFMD coordination groups including those related to Syria media and gender issues. Going forward, as we rapidly grow, I expect IREX to be more involved especially in coordinating development efforts between US and EU based organizations. As a member of the Steering Committee, I will continue contributing to defining GFMD's role in the changing world of media development and will support its networking efforts. In the time when media development is still not fully accepted as a key pillar in democratic development it is critical to join forces and continue building a coalition of like-minded organizations investing in supporting content creators and media outlets in developing regions.


Michael Mirny, Senior Director of Information and Media Practice joined GFMD Steering Committee in 2017 replacing Leon Morse at IREX. IREX is one of the largest media development organizations in the U.S., with a portfolio of media programs of about $92 million and a staff of 110.

Mr. Mirny has 22 years of experience in international development and journalism. Mr. Mirny manages a portfolio of programs in Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Asia, Europe and Eurasia, and Central America. Mr. Mirny started his career as a journalist and is currently an Honors Fellow at the University of Maryland where he teaches a course in countering disinformation and propaganda in media.

Ruth Kronenburg, Director of Operations, FreePress Unlimited

I believe GFMD plays a vital role in the international community to keep matters concerning independent media development / journalism on the international agenda. Free Press Unlimited has supported GFMD over the last decade in doing so and not only financial but also with in-kind support. We wouldn't have done that if we did not believe in the added value of GFMD.

My personal contribution would be to emphasize on this important role and to support GFMD in her mission in any way I can with or without the help of our organisation. I bring extensive experience with me both in the field of media development as well as operational knowledge (business administration).

Thierry Vallat, Chair and Managing Director, CFI

CFI has been a member of GFMD since 2016 when we got involved in a common action to coordinate with the Syrian medias. Appointed as the Chair and Managing Director of CFI in November 2018, I joined the GFMD's executive committee less than a year ago, but long enough to appreciate and try to contribute to the vibrancy and efficiency of the GFMD. To me, this organization is a unique place of sharing and reflection, particularly regarding issues like gender equality, impact measurement and free access to information.

CFI is active in Asia, Europe, Central America and especially engaged in the Arab world and sub-saharian Africa. Should I be elected, I will try to bring a special contribution and expertise about the French speaking media‘ network. Thanks to CFI’s strong relationships with local media actors and longstanding experience in those regions, I believe we can increase the GFMD's visibility and attract new members from French speaking African countries and the Middle East.

Thanks to our experience with European donors (in particular the European Commission and the French Development Agency), I will ensure that we provide our support to GFMD’s involvement in enhancing the capacities of small and medium-sized members that to apply for funds.

CFI promotes with passion independent and professional media because we know how central their role is to defend and promote a better governance. We also know this is a global fight and every continent is linked to the other ones. This is the reason why our involvement in GMFD is of such a great importance to us.

In the previous years of my life, I spent many years studying Arabic and dedicated more than half of my professional career to the MENA region, working more particularly in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Israel and Morocco. I am personally very committed to multilinguism, multilateralism and cooperation.

As the former Head of the Department of Training and Deputy Director of Communications for the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, I have also spent many years nurturing a deep interest in issues regarding the development of the media and digital communication.

I believe that grassroots media can make the difference in multiple fields such as gender equality, protection of the environment or promotion of citizen participation. In a time when fundamental democratic values are under attack everywhere, the role of Media as well as ours is becoming more important than ever.

For all these reasons, I have decided to run again for the steering committee and would be honored to be able to continue to dedicate my efforts and CFI’s ones to the wonderful and ambitious job GFMD is making.

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