Media Futures – Policy, Politics and Power, 10-11 October, Brussels, Belgium

Samira Ahmed is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster, currently presenting BBC Radio 4 news programmes. She also writes and broadcasts programmes for The Spectator, The Guardian, The Independent and BBC 2′s The Review Show. Until recently she was a presenter and correspondent at Channel 4 News. She won the Stonewall Broadcaster of the Year award in 2009 for her report on “corrective” rape in South Africa and made the Channel 4 documentary series “Islam Unveiled” about the status of Muslim women round the world. Samira gives school talks and lectures regularly on journalism at a number of universities, including London School of Economics, London Metropolitan University and Berlin Brandenburg University. Her natural competitive streak found an outlet when she won Celebrity Mastermind in 2010.

Gregory Asmolov is a contributing editor to RuNet Echo, the Global Voices Online review that analyses the Russian Internet. He has consulted on information technology, new media, and social media projects for the World Bank, the American Councils for International Education, and Internews, and conducted research at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Gregory has previously worked as a journalist for major Russian daily newspapers Kommersant and Novaya Gazeta, and served as news editor and analyst for Israeli TV. He is a co-founder of Help Map, the crowdsourcing platform used to coordinate assistance to victims of the 2010 wildfires in Russia and won a Russian National Internet Award for best project in the “State and Society” category. Gregory holds an MA in Global Communication from George Washington University and is working towards a PhD at the New media, Innovation and Literacy programme of the London School of Economics.

Samir Barhoum is since 2007 Chief Editor of The Jordan Times, Jordan’s only English-language daily newspaper. Before that he worked at the paper as journalist, page editor and editor of the online edition. From 1997 to 2002, he worked as chief editor of Al Mashreq Al I’lami, a monthly newspaper specialized in media affairs. In addition, he was a project coordinator for several projects carried out by the Amman-based Arab Media Institute.



Emily Butselaar is Online Editor for Index on Censorship – the London-based freedom of expression campaign group. Emily runs the Index’ programme of international editors and is currently forming the organisation’s digital strategy and Internet freedom programme. She previously worked at The Guardian, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar.




Jamal Dajani is Vice President of Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean at Internews Nework. Before joining Internews, Dajani held the position of Vice President of International News at Link TV where he co-created and produced more than 2,000 installments of Mosaic: World News from the Middle East, winner of the prestigious Peabody Award. Dajani has produced and directed several television productions, including Occupied Minds, a documentary shedding light on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and Who Speaks for Islam?, both of which aired on Link TV and PBS stations. He also served as a consultant for PBS Frontline World’s War of Ideas and author of The Arab Media Revolution. He blogs regularly on the Huffington Post. Dajani is a board member of New America Media, the largest collaboration of ethnic news organisations in the U.S.

Štefan Füle is European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy since 2010, two vital EU policy areas, aiming to consolidate peace, democracy and prosperity in Europe. During his political career he held the position of Czech European Affairs Minister (2009) and Czech First Deputy Defence Minister (2001–2002). During the years 2005–2009 he was the Czech Permanent Representative to NATO. Before that he was nominated the Czech Ambassador to the UK (2003-2005) and Czech Ambassador to Lithuania (1998-2001). Prior to that he held various positions within the Czech and Czechoslovakian Governments.


Konstanty Gebert is an international reporter and columnist at Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s biggest daily, and head of the Warsaw office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). A democratic opposition activist in the 1970s, he organised the Jewish Flying University and worked as an underground journalist in the 1980s He is the founder of the Polish Jewish intellectual monthly Midrasz, and a board member, among others, of the Taube Centre for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland and of Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany. Konstanty has taught in Poland, Israel and the U.S. He wrote ten books, i.a. on the Polish democratic transformation and on French policy toward Poland, the Yugoslav wars, the wars of Israel, Torah commentary and post-war Polish Jewry. His essays have also appeared in two dozen collective works in Poland and abroad, and his articles in newspapers and platforms such as Project Syndicate.

James Harkin is the author of Niche and Director of the social analysis agency Flockwatching. He is writer and social forecaster, working regularly for the Financial Times and The Guardian. James has also collaborated with the London Review of Books, Newsweek and The Economist. He has appeared on Newsnight, Channel 4 News, Sky News, CBC and NPR, discussing social and technological trends, and has lectured on political economy and social theory at Oxford University, about the consequences of the Internet at the London School of Economy, and on the changing nature of film storytelling at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Dagmar Hovestädt is Spokesperson of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Archives since March 2011. She began her journalistic career as a reporter for local public television in Berlin. After receiving her Master’s degree, she went on to work as investigative producer/reporter and editor for the first national public network ARD, focusing mainly on the unification of Germany. In 1999 she moved to California and worked from Los Angeles as a freelance news producer for her former network and a number of other German and Austrian television channels. In addition, she directed her own reports and stories, as well as managed documentary productions all over the U.S., thus acquiring a broad insight into the American society.

Mark Johnson is The Economist’s Community Editor, managing and developing community features on The Economist online and across several social networks. He also writes about technology, politics and international relations for the newspaper and on the web. Before joining The Economist, he worked in publishing, developing digital strategy at HarperCollins. He worked on their early ebook programme and launched http://www.authonomy.com/, a talent-spotting writing community which kick-started the careers of several young authors and won the British Book Industry’s Award for Innovation.


Ben Judah covers Russia and Central Asia at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), where he is a Policy Fellow. He is currently co-authoring a flagship report for the Council on Russia after the financial crisis, based on an embedded research he conducted in Moscow and Beijing. His work on Russia and Central Asia was featured in The Economist, The Financial Times, Prospect, Reuters, The Associated Press, Standpoint Magazine and Foreign Policy. Ben has reported from most ex-Soviet states, covering events such as the Georgian War in 2008 and the Kyrgyz revolution in 2011. Still, he occasionally breaks out of the post-Soviet space to cover other parts of the world, from China’s restive Xinjiang province in 2010 to the immediate aftermath of the Tunisian revolution in the early stages of the Arab spring. His analysis has been featured by Reuters, Al Jazeera, France 24, Deutsche Welle, BBC Radio 4 and others. Ben is currently writing his first book.

Valery Levchenko is Deputy Editor in Chief at the Russian News & Information Agency “RIA Novosti”. He has been working at RIA Novosti since March 2006, overseeing external communications and the press-centre facilities. Levchenko has over 12 years of strategic marketing, communications and product development experience in online media (RIA Novosti, Reuters). He has also worked in marketing outside the media industry, for over five years in banking (VTB, Alfa-Bank) and around two years in telecoms (Motorola). Levchenko is volunteering as Vice-President, Russian chapter, International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and as Head of Media Relations and Information Policies Committee at Russian Managers Association.

Leon Morse is an international media development specialist with 15 years of experience working and living in developing countries. Managing Editor of the Media Sustainability Index at the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), he is responsible for overseeing the individual country studies and ensuring the quality of the final editions, both in terms of scoring and content. His work with the Media Sustainability Index provides regional and global perspectives on the state of media development and press freedom issues, particularly in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Leon´s past work with IREX included serving on the team responsible for developing the Media Sustainability Index’s underlying methodology and managing USAID-funded media development projects in several southeastern European countries, including Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ivan Nikoltchev is Head of the Media Section at the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe, in charge of the organisation’s assistance and cooperation work in the field of media and freedom of expression. A former journalist, he has authored numerous articles and two popular science books. Since 1991, Ivan has been working to promote freedom of expression in post-communist countries. He has been, among other things, the media programme coordinator of the Open Society Fund in Bulgaria, the Resident Advisor of IREX ProMedia for Bulgaria and the coordinator of the Stability Pact Media Programme of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Ivan holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Maryland. He has taught a course on European media policy and regulation to American students in Strasbourg.

Vicent Partal
is Founder and Director of vilaweb.cat, the main Catalan language online newspaper, based in Barcelona. Deputy Chairman of the Board of the European Journalism Centre, Vicent worked previously as foreign affairs reporter at TVE and La Vanguardia. He was awarded with the National Prize on Journalism.


Robert G. Picard is Director of Research at the Reuters Institute’s Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University. A specialist in media economics and policy, he is the author and editor of 27 books, including Value Creation and the Future of News Organizations, The Economics and Financing of Media Companies, The Internet and the Mass Media, and Media Firms: Structure, Operations, and Performance. He is editor of the Journal of Media Business Studies and was previously editor of The Journal of Media Economics. Robert received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and has been a fellow at the Shorenstein Center at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He has consulted and carried out assignments for governments in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia and for international organisations including the European Commission, UNESCO, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation. He has been a consultant for leading media companies in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, International Authors and Writers Who’s Who, and Contemporary Authors.

Alena Popova is an ICT specialist, investor and expert in startup businesses and investments. She actively promotes eGov in the Russian society, as well as supports and develops civil-society projects and initiatives. She is actively involved in topics related to women development and social entrepreneurship.

David Quin is ENJN Head of Training at the Thomson Foundation. He has developed and managed EU-financed media training for both MEDA and the European Neighbourhood countries for over six years. David also has eight years of experience in providing development and media skills training in the Balkans, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and North Africa. In addition, he worked for two years as project manager for the OSCE finance reform project of the Macedonian state television. Prior to that, he was a resident journalist in the Caucasus, the Balkans and the Middle East. He has also lectured at the Nottingham University on ‘Future Imperfect – the Caucasus media and its future’.

Courtney C. Radsch is an international media expert and published author, with more than 11 years of journalism and media experience in the U.S. and Middle East. She currently manages the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House, where she leads international advocacy missions and trains civil society advocates. Courtney’s journalism background includes a stint as editor of Al Arabiya’s English website, where she helped manage newsroom integration and digital convergence. She also held positions within the New York Times and Lebanon’s Daily Star. She regularly speaks about social media, cyberactivism, and Middle East politics with recent appearances on PBS Frontline, Al Jazeera, Al Hurra, NPR and VOA. She regularly writes for the Huffington Post, Oxford Analytica, and other leading publications and her Arab Media blog is one of the longest running on the topic. She’s currently turning her PhD dissertation, The Revolution Will Be Blogged: Cyberactivism in Egypt, into a book.

Wilfried Rütten is Director of the European Journalism Centre (EJC). He has worked in German public and private broadcasting as a reporter and producer (ARD, RTL-Group) as well as in journalism education. Before joining the EJC, he was the Head of School for Digital Television at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg, Austria.




Abdul-Hakim Mousa Salah is Head of the English Desk at Ma’an News. He also has over ten years of experience as a translator and an interpreter.



Richard Sambrook is Global Vice Chairman and Chief Content Officer for Edelman PR, where he takes a strategic lead on developing media content for clients. He is a BBC News veteran, where he worked for 30 years, most recently as Director of Global News, responsible for providing radio, TV, and digital services for 230 million people each week. He was a producer and editor on many of the BBC’s major news programmes and directed the coverage of many news events. He is a regular speaker on digital media at the World Economic Forum, among others, and has served on the Advisory Group for the United Nations Internet Governance Forum.


Jack Shenker is Egypt correspondent for UK’s Guardian. His previous work has covered regions as diverse as central and southern Asia, the U.S. and Gaza, and has been featured in a wide range of publications including Prospect, the New Statesman and Internazionale. He first moved to the Middle East in 2008, and his reporting of this year’s Egyptian revolution won him the Amnesty International Gaby Rado award for excellence in human rights journalism. He is currently based in both London and Cairo.

Nonna-Anna Stefanova is a foreign correspondent at Channel 5 Television, Ukraine. She attended the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, graduating with a BA and a Master’s degrees in Literary Theory and Criticism. Subsequently, she attended the National State University of Cinema, Theatre and Television, graduating with a degree in directing from the cinema and television faculty. She has worked as a freelance print journalist, covering social and cultural stories, and directed a number of short independent films, which were screened at cinema festivals in the Ukraine and abroad.  In addition to her work as a TV journalist, Nonna also currently teaches film theory at the National State University of Cinema, Theatre and Television.

Sergey Strokan is a journalist, essayist and poet. He is a political commentator with Russia’s Kommersant Publishing House. He also hosts Red Line, a weekly analytical programme broadcast by The Voice of Russia in New York City, and is a columnist with Russia Today broadcasting company. He is the author of three poetry collections, a winner of the Maximilian Voloshin International Literary Award (2010) and a member of Union of Russian Journalists and Union of Russian Writers.



Richard Tynen is Project Director for the EU Funded programme, European Neighbourhood Journalism Network, which delivers training and development opportunities to journalists in 16 countries around the Mediterranean and in Eastern Europe. Richard directs a team of 20 consultants drawn from a consortium of five major European Media Development NGOs. This role is part of his portfolio as Development Director for the Thomson Foundation, who lead the consortium. He is responsible for the strategic development of the Foundation; identifying new markets and innovative ways to help develop capacity in media partners throughout the world.

Jillian C. York is the Director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She writes regularly about freedom of expression, politics, and the Internet, with particular focus on the Arab world. Jillian is on the Board of Directors of Global Voices Online and has written for a variety of publications, including Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, and Die Zeit.