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SPEAKERS’ PROFILES

Intermedia Pakistan welcome participants from a variety of global and national organizations, unions and associations working on the issues of journalist safety security and freedom of the press. Here is a brief profile of our esteemed guests from around the globe and around Pakistan.

Panelists from International Organizations

Lars Bestle, International Media Support, IMS

As Head of International Media Support’s programs in Asia, Lars Bestle direct program design and implementation media development initiatives in countries facing conflict or democratic transition in the Asia region. Lars Bestle is a media and development specialist with many years of experience in international development work specialized in independent media, good governance and democratization. Previously as regional policy advisor for UNDP’s Asia and the Pacific centre in Bangkok, Lars Bestle worked with 25 country offices, where he pioneered and managed initiatives with both government and civil society partners to enhance access to information, independence of media and digital communications in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr Kozue Kay Nagata, UNESCO Pakistan
Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata has been working as Director/Representative of UNESCO to Pakistan in March 2011. Prior to her current position, she served as Economic Affairs Officer in the Development Cooperation Branch of the office of ECOSOC Support and Coordination, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in New York. Since 2006, she has been heavily involved in the substantive servicing of the operational activities segment of ECOSOC, held every year, and the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF). Among other things, she contributed to the 2007 version of the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review of the Operational Activities of the United Nations for Development (TCPR) and the Asia-Pacific Regional DCF.

Guy Berger, UNESCO

Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development. He is a former editor and a journalism professor, who was also jailed in South Africa as a political prisoner during the apartheid era. He headed up the School of Journalism & Media Studies at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa from 1994-2010. In November 2011, he left Rhodes to work at UNESCO as Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development. Berger has worked in the press and television, and has a PhD from Rhodes. He was deputy Chair of the SA National Editors Forum 2003-4, and remained an active member up till 2011. Berger also authored “Converse” – a fortnightly column for the Mail & Guardian online up till end 2010

Stewart Chisholm – OSF
Stewart Chisholm is associated with the Open Society Foundations, UK as Associate Director, Media Program.

He has also worked with the media program of European Council for Foreign Relations. You can follow Stewart on twitter at @stushka.
Robert (Bob) Dietz, CPJ
Bob Dietz is working as CPJ’s Asia Program Coordinator. Since 1977, Bob Dietz has worked as a journalist in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. He started as a freelance journalist in Tanzania, moving to Uganda after the departure of Idi Amin, and then to Somalia in 1981. He was a cameraman and bureau chief in Cairo and Beirut for Visnews, now Reuters TV, covering the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and its aftermath. He moved to Asia as a bureau chief for NBC News in Seoul and then in Manila, where he opened the network’s bureau shortly before the downfall of the Marcos regime. In 1988, he was awarded a William Benton Fellowship at the University of Chicago, studying international relations. He later served as interim general manager for a start-up PBS station in his hometown of Philadelphia, before working for the newly launched CNN International in Atlanta. In 1995, Dietz moved to Hong Kong with his wife, Donna Liu, who opened CNNI’s Asia Production Center. After seven years as a senior editor at Asiaweek magazine, he worked with the World Health Organization. Since starting at CPJ in January 2006, Dietz has continued to travel widely in Asia, including reporting trips and CPJ missions to Afghanistan, China and Hong Kong, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. You can follow Dietz on Twitter @cpjasia

Ricardo Gonzalez, Article 19
Ricardo holds a bachelor´s degree in International Studies and Master´s degree in Journalism and Public Affairs from the Ibero-American University and Centre for Research of Applied Economics respectively. Before joining ARTICLE 19 he worked for the Human Rights Unit of the Mexican Federal government. He has been working for the Mexico and Central America Office of ARTICLE19 for 6 years, where he focused his work around the issue of safety and protection for journalists and human rights defenders. He developed a safety manual and other training materials to report on organized crime, demonstrations, natural disasters and other hostile environments considered peaceful contexts. Ricardo worked extensively with media houses, journalist, bloggers and citizen journalist groups in the elaboration of security protocol.

Since the beginning of 2013, Ricardo joined the global office of ARTICLE 19 to coordinate the Global Protection Programme for Journalists and Human Rights Defenders. He can be found on twitter at @Dr_Rigo_Mortis

Carlos Cortez, FLIP
Carlos Cortez is essentially a lawyer. He specialized in journalism at the University of the Andes. After working in law firms in the field of private law, in late 2003, he joined the Office of the Press Ombudsman where he could get involved with the issue of press freedom, related especially to its legal aspects. From there he had the idea to create something similar to what is today FLIP: an organization focused on research and monitoring violations of press freedom. Cortez has been associated with FLIP since 2005. He directs the organization with ten years of experience that “systematically monitors violations of press freedom in Colombia and arranges activities that contribute to the protection of journalists and the media, and promotes the fundamental right to information

Azzam Ameen, SLYJM
Azzam who currently works for BBC News in Sri Lanka as an Assistant Producer is no stranger to the media industry in Sri Lanka. Having worked for the Sri Lanka Press Institute and Sri Lanka College of Journalism as a project coordinator, he has a wide network of contacts in the field of Journalism. Azzam is one of the very few journalists who link the ethnically segmented Sri Lankan journalists’ community. Azzam is a Graduate from the University of Colombo and also holds diplomas in Journalism, International Relations and Marketing. He also completed the Study of the US Institute for Student Leaders on New Media in Journalism at the University of Oklahoma and completed a three week Internship at the BBC World Newsroom in London. Azzam played a key role in forming the Sri Lanka Youth Journalist Movement during challenging conditions for journalists in Sri Lanka. Azzam’s role as the convener was quite a challenging task in a time where all the other media organization heads were in exile fearing for their lives. Azzam is also a founder member of the Truth Factor Sri Lanka.4

Axel Plathe, UNESCO
Axel Plathe is Head of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and works closely on journalist security and safety issues.

He can be followed on twitter at @Axel_Plathe

Nani Jensen, MLDI
Nani Jansen is Senior Legal Counsel at the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI). MLDI operates globally to help journalists and independent media outlets defend their rights by offering both financial assistance and substantive litigation support. As Senior Legal Counsel, Nani oversees litigation in various national jurisdictions, as well as international courts and human rights tribunals.

Cherilyn Ireton, WAN-IFRA

Cherilyn Ireton, a South African editor and successful senior manager at some of the country’s top newspapers is the Executive Director of the World Editors Forum, the global organization for editors within the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). Cherilyn is a seasoned newspaper professional with more than twenty years experience on South Africa’s top newspapers, including the Sunday Times and Business Day, where she worked as a journalist, editorial manager and chief operations officer. For the past six years she has been based in London, consulting on media matters to a variety of international organizations and governments.

Johan Romare, FOJO
Johan Romare is a journalist and educationalist currently heading Fojo Media Institute’s International Department. With degrees in Political Science, Education and Journalism he reported from Africa South of Sahara for Swedish media before entering the field of media development. During the last decade Johan Romare has been engaged in supporting free, independent and professional media Africa and Asia. 2004-2007 he was posted in Sri Lanka being part of establishing the Sri Lanka Press Institute. When the war returned to Sri Lanka in 2008 he was part of setting up a safety fund for journalist assisting colleagues under threat. Currently Johan Romare manages a department with media development programs in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Zambia, Uganda, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. He was part of an IMS reference group for training on conflict sensitive journalism.

Sheryl Mendez , Freedom House
Sheryl Mendez is Senior Program Officer to Freedom House’s Global Human Rights Program. Mendez oversees an emergency fund that provides financial assistance to human rights defenders under threat, attack, detention, persecution or otherwise at immediate risk due to their work. The emergency fund supports human rights defenders, including journalists and activists, who promote and protect human rights, including but not limited to: freedom of expression and independent media, free association, minority rights, legal activism, rule of law and indigenous rights. Support is provided with small short-term emergency grants for medical expenses, legal representation, prison visits, trial monitoring, security, and other types of urgent expenses. Emergency assistance is given to address an acute and immediate threat. Mendez is also a founding member of The Crimes of War Project and editor of the book, Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (WW Norton). Before joining Freedom House in September 2012, Mendez worked with the Committee to Protect Journalists since 2009 engineering and implementing a program of direct assistance to endangered journalists worldwide. She is also a widely published photojournalist who covered the aftermath of war in Iraq, Lebanon and the revolution in Libya.

Panelists from National Organizations

Adnan Rehmat, Intermedia Pakistan
Adnan Rehmat has been associated with the Pakistani media sector since 1990, principally as a journalist and media development specialist. For over 10 years he has been associated with efforts on development strategies for the Pakistani media including radio, TV and print. His work focuses on improving ethics within media and minimizing sensationalism as well as building capacity of the media to improve coverage of development issues. He has also been involved in advocacy and lobbying on improving access to information, media legal reforms, building news and information capacities of the broadcast sector, and research and analysis, among others. Before joining Intermedia in 2009, Rehmat headed (2003 to 2009) the Pakistan operations of the US-based media support INGO, Internews Network, implementing a string of media development projects. Before that he has worked for a string of publications and broadcast networks nationally and internationally and continues to write on media, security and politics regularly for Pakistani and international publications. He has also worked for news agencies and some newspapers in senior positions.

Dr. Faisal Bari, Open Society Foundations
Dr. Faisal Bari is a well known economist associated with Open Society Foundations as Senior Advisor. Dr. Bari is also a professor at LUMS and holds a PhD in Economics from McGill University. He has over a decade long academic career teaching at various Universities around the world. Dr. Bari was a Rhodes Scholar 1988 – 1991 and a Henry Hart Research Fellow at Yale from 2000-2001. Dr. Bari has consulted with various esteemed national and international organizations including Central Bureau of Revenue (CBR), State Bank of Pakistan: Financial Reform and Asian Development Bank, (ADB), 2001-2002. His fields of interest are Industrial Organization, Game Theory and Economic Development.
Absar Alam, Aaj TV

Absar Alam is a senior journalist and an anchor associated with Aaj TV . He is also the Country Director of Open Society Foundation, Pakistan. Alam has been a practicing journalist for more than two decades. He started with Muslim newspaper and went on to become the Director News at Dunya TV; which he launched within a couple of months of his joining. Alam was also the Bureau Chief Islamabad at Geo News. He also contributed to national and international publications including New York Times. Previously, he held the position of editor at The Nation and was also involved in the launching of Waqt News TV channel. Alam has hosted daily current affairs shows, special transmissions and has various groundbreaking investigative reports to his credit. He is also a Niemen fellow and has studied at Harvard and Boston University.

Mohammad Ziauddin, The Express Tribune
Muhammad Ziauddin has been a print Journalist of 46 years. He is currently the Executive Editor of The Express Tribune. Mohammad Ziauddin is highly reputed and well respected among the journalist community for his high standards in journalism and his commitment to quality journalism.

He can be followed on twitter at @MuhammadZiauddi

Mazhar Abbas, Express News
Mazhar Abbas is a senior journalist from Karachi who is currently associated with Express News as Director Current Affairs. He has previously worked with ARY as Director News. Mazhar Abbas is a former secretary-general of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.

Mazhar Abbas, who has worked as a journalist for nearly thirty years, has received multiple threats as a result of his work. In 2007, he won an International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. The award is given for journalists who show courage in defending press freedom in the face of attacks, threats or imprisonment.He also won the 2009 Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism
Owais Tohid, ARY News

Owais Tohid is a Karachi-based senior journalist currently associated with ARY news. He headed Pakistan’s private TV channels including Geo English, ARY and Dunya TV as Director News. He has worked for leading national and international media organizations including The News (1991-95), Agence France Presse (AFP) (1995-2000) and BBC World Service in London (2000-2003). Tohid has covered the armed conflicts in Pakistan, its tribal belt, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Israel.

Mohammad Malick, Dunya News
Mohammad Malick is the Group Editor English Publications at Dunya News. In a journalistic career spanning over 2 decades, he has held top editorial positions in both print and electronic media. He currently hosts a show titles DUnya at 8 with Malick.

Mohammd Malick can be followed on twitter at @MalickViews

Umer Cheema, The News

Umar Cheema is an investigative reporter for the Pakistani newspaper The News. In 2008, he won a Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellowship, becoming the first Pearl fellow to work at The New York Times.He also attended London School of Economics as a Chevening Scholar. Cheema writes on corruption, politics, national security and unaccountable intelligence agencies. His bold work landed him in trouble several times. He was attacked twice other than receiving threats multiple times.He can be followed on twitter at @UmarCheema1

Pervaiz Shaukat, PFUJ

Pervez Shaukat is a senior journalist associated with the Jang Media Group and at present is the president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ). He has held this post since 2005, being re-elected unopposed into office in 2009. Previously, Shaukat has presided over Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) and All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation (APNEC). He also served as the secretary-general of Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club. With over 20 years of active unionism, he has stood the tests of time and faced many regimes and governments but never wavered from his resolve which is to ensure provision of rights to journalists of Pakistan. Shaukat has appeared on behalf of the journalists’ community at various forums and courts of law, and at present has been fighting for the 7th Wage Board Award in Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Asma Shirazi, Dawn News
Ms Asma Shirazi is a senior anchorperson/producer and special correspondent with Dawn News. She hosts a popular prime time weekly show that mostly features the host of socio-economic and political problems that Pakistani masses are facing today. Shirazi has been working as a journalist in the electronic media for the last 10 years. She has reported from disaster hit regions and has never shied away from tough reporting beats. Before joining Samaa Shirazi was associated with ARY News. She has also reported and hosted a show for Pakistan’s most popular news channel Geo News.

Owais Aslam Ali, Pakistan Press Foundation

Owais Aslam Ali is the chairperson of Pakistan Press Foundation, PPF, an independent, non-profit organization that carries out media development activities such as the training of journalists, the promotion of standards of journalism, and the defence of the rights of media to free expression. He is also the Chairman of Pakistan Press International, PPI, an independent news agency has been providing the news, photo and audio services to the national and international media since 1956. He also serves as the chairman of Asianet-Pakistan, Pakistan’s oldest and largest digital content syndication service offering 130 major newspapers, magazines, academic journals, professional publications; news agency text services; and specialized business and financial services from Pakistan to a range of international customers.
He is also a member of Council of IFX, International Freedom of Expresstion Exchange, Executive Board Member od IPI, International Press Institure and INSI, International News Safety Institute.

Iqbal Khattak, Reporters Sans Borders

Iqbal Khattak is serving as bureau chief of Peshawar with Daily Times, and as the country representative of Paris based global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. Khattak has been a practising journalist since 1989, he has been associated with The Frontier Post and The Friday Times.

For the last four years Khattak has also been conducting journalism and security related trainings.

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