South Africa’s Khadija Patel has been elected as the 35th chair of the global Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI) at the organization’s World Congress and General Assembly, held in Vienna, Austria, from September 15 to 17, during which veteran Nigerian journalist, Mr. Raheem Adedoyin, and nine others were also elected to the Board by its General Assembly.
Ms Patel, who is the head of programmes for the International Fund for Public Interest Media and a former editor-in-chief of South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper, was elected by fellow members of IPI’s Executive Board to take over from Markus Spillmann, former editor of Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung, who has served two terms as Chair after being elected to the position during IPI’s 2018 World Congress in Abuja, Nigeria.
Mr. Adedoyin, who is Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Herald newspapers, was one of 10 new board members elected by IPI’s General Assembly. Those also elected include Walid Batrawi, a Media and communications expert in Palestine; John Daniszewski, Vice President, Standards and Editor-at-Large of The Associated Press in the United States; Márton Gergely, Editor-in-Chief of HVG in Hungary; Emre Kızılkaya, Project editor of journo.com.tr in Turkey.
Others are Elizaveta Osetinskaya, a journalist and media manager, who is founder of The Bell in Russia; Etaf Roudan, Radio Al Balad Manager, Community Media Network (CMN) in Jordan; Hiroki Sugita, a columnist and Associate Executive Director of Kyodo News in Japan; Jussi Tuulensuu, Senior Editor-in-Chief of Aamulehti in Finland; and Sami Zeidan, Principal Presenter at the Al Jazeera Media Network in Qatar.
Besides Ms Patel who was re-elected to the Executive Board, the IPI General Assembly also re-elected as Executive Board members Zaffar Abbas, Editor of Dawn newspaper in Pakistan; Mahfuz Anam, Editor & Publisher of The Daily Star in Bangladesh; Monika Eigensperger, Director of Radio at the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) in Austria; David Jordan, Director of Editorial Policy at the BBC in the United Kingdom; Riyad Mathew, Editor of Malayala Manorama and The Week in India.
Five long-time Executive Board members stepped down having reached their term limits. They are: Sami El Haj, Head of the Human Rights and Public Liberties Desk at the Al Jazeera Media Network in Qatar; Daoud Kuttab, Director General of the Community Media Network and Founder of AmmanNet in Jordan; Kaius Niemi, Senior Editor-in-Chief at Helsingin Sanomat in Finland; Martha Steffens, a Professor and SABEW Chair in Business and Financial Reporting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in the United States; and John Yearwood, Global News Editor and Editor, China Watcher at POLITICO, also in the United States.
Although he stepped down as a Board member, Kaius Niemi was nominated to serve as a special adviser to the Executive Board.
“I’m honoured to be entrusted with this position”, said Ms Patel, after her election, adding: “And I look forward to steering the IPI through this challenging period of media history. The IPI is a cherished institution and is best placed to bring together the diversity of our industry to forge ahead during a period of significant upheaval.”
IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi praised the election of Patel, saying “We are thrilled to welcome Khadija Patel as IPI’s new Board chair, and greatly look forward to working with her to address the challenges facing independent journalism across the globe. It is no surprise that Khadija earned the trust of her fellow Board members to take over the chair position, and her deep experience as a journalist and editor makes her perfectly suited to this role.”
She said: “For me and all the colleagues at IPI, it has been a great privilege to work closely with Markus Spillmann over the past three years of his chairmanship. He has provided very valuable guidance to IPI in a difficult period as the global pandemic forced IPI to revise the way we work in order to serve our global network.”