Anti-SLAPP Conference



Maria Ordzhonikidze

Director, Justice for Journalists Foundation

Maria Ordzhonikidze is a Director of the Justice for Journalists Foundation. Over the course of her international career, Ms Ordzhonikidze has designed and managed a number of public awareness, advocacy, human rights and crisis management campaigns. As a Secretary General of the EU-Russia Centre she oversaw its research and lobbying efforts in Brussels and wider Europe. She ran the international litigation communication and advocacy campaign as the Head of Khodorkovsky Press Center in Russia. A visiting professor in International Communications at Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, she conducted training programmes for corporations, NGOs and individuals. Ms Ordzhonikidze has authored research and articles and regularly speaks on subjects including sociological and political trends, international relations, freedom of speech and global security. She holds an MA in Sociology from the Moscow State University and an MA in Intelligence and Security from the London Brunel University.

Lord Cromwell

Lord Cromwell

An independent peer and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking

An independent (Cross-Bench) House of Lords peer since 2014, Godfrey Cromwell is a member of the House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking. He is a determined  advocate for legislation against ‘lawfare’/SLAPPS; including this year securing in HoL the government inclusion of an amendment on SLAPPS in the Economic Crime Bill. More widely he has a combined business and NGO background across Africa, Asia and the countries of the former Soviet Union, as+ well as wealth management for UK High Net Worth clients; increasing competition in SME finance through funding to challenger banks and fintechs; and running international election monitoring missions.  

Susan Coughtrie

Director, Foreign Policy Centre and co-chair of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition and author of London Calling report

Susan Coughtrie is Director at the Foreign Policy Centre. Susan joined FPC in 2020 to lead the Unsafe for Scrutiny project, which examines risks and threats to journalists investigating financial crime and corruption. The findings of this research led Susan to co-found the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition in January 2021, which she continues to co-chair. Susan has undertaken a variety of consultancy work in the media sphere, having previously worked at the international free expression organisation ARTICLE 19 from 2012-2018, and as an advisor to the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) from 2019-2022. Susan is also a Trustee for committee for the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS).


Caroline Kean

Consultant Partner, Wiggin LLP

Caroline Kean is a Media Defence Lawyer and founder of law firm Wiggin. Caroline has over 30 years’ experience as a commercial litigator; she is also one of the UK’s most influential defamation and privacy litigators. She has immense experience in resolving complex media disputes at editorial and main board level. Known especially as a fearsome tactician, and having defended prominent SLAPPs in recent years, Caroline has worked closely with English PEN and the Foreign Policy Centre to table model Anti-SLAPP legislation.

Catherine Belton

Catherine Belton

Investigative journalist and author of Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West

Catherine Belton is an international investigative reporter for the Washington Post. She worked from 2007–2013 as the Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times, and in 2016 as the newspaper’s legal correspondent. She has previously reported on Russia for Moscow Times and Business Week, and served as an investigative correspondent for Reuters. In 2009, she was shortlisted for Business Journalist of the year at the British Press Awards. She lives in London.

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Roger Mullin

Former Scottish National Party politician

Roger Mullin  is a former Member of Parliament. He led a campaign while in parliament to try and reform Scottish Limited Partnerships which were at the heart of huge international corruption and a front for financial crime. He is an Ambassador for Transparency Task Force and a member of its Advisory Group.  Roger has raised a petition with the Scottish Parliament calling for Anti-SLAPP legislation to be introduced in Scotland. 

Roger is a director to REVIVE Campaign which advocates for the innocent victims of explosive violence, and is an honorary Professor (Law and Philosophy) at the University of Stirling.


Dario Milo

High Level Panel of Legal Experts and partner at Webber Wentzel attorneys in Johannesburg, South Africa

Professor Milo is a partner at Webber Wentzel attorneys in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since 2019, he has been a member of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, an independent body that was convened in July 2019 at the request of the UK and Canada to provide advice and recommendations to governments to prevent and reverse abuses of media freedom. He has acted as lead attorney in a number of free speech and media freedom cases in courts and tribunals in South Africa, including on issues such as civil and criminal defamation, open justice, access to information, prior restraints, disinformation, hate speech, surveillance, intimidation of journalists, national security and privacy. He acted for the world-famous cartoonist Zapiro in the defamation claim brought by former president Jacob Zuma. Professor Milo is Adjunct Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and the author of Defamation and Freedom of Speech published by Oxford University Press. He is an expert at Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression initiative and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Media Law.

Flutura Kusari

Flutura Kusari

Legal Advisor at ECPMF and Member of the Council of Europe Expert Committee on SLAPPs

Flutura Kusari works as legal advisor at the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) in Leipzig, Germany. She leads the legal support programme of the ECPMF which enables journalists facing legal actions to cover lawyer’s fees. Ms Kusari represents ECPMF at the CASE platform, an international coalition working on fighting SLAPPs in Europe. She is also a member of Anti-SLAPP Expert Group established by the European Commission. Ms Kusari holds a Ph.D. in Media Law from Ghent University, Belgium.

Laura Prather

Laura Prather

Partner, Haynes and Boone, LLP, United States

Laura Prather is a head of the Media Law Practice Group at Haynes Boone. She has spent more than 30 years defending the human rights of freedom of expression and access to information. In court, she represents journalists and media and entertainment companies in defamation, privacy, anti-SLAPP and intellectual property matters. At the legislature, she advocates for free speech and government transparency. Prather has been instrumental in the passage of a reporter’s privilege, anti-SLAPP statute, retraction law, and neutral reportage privilege in Texas. Her anti-SLAPP work extends well beyond Texas: serving as an Advisor to the Uniform Law Commission in the development of their model Anti-SLAPP law (the Uniform Protection of Public Expression Act) and through her work with the Public Participation Project in their efforts to obtain passage of a federal anti-SLAPP law. She recently completed work as a Fulbright Scholar researching the EU, UK and US efforts to advance freedom of expression and information rights through the passage anti-SLAPP laws. Her comparative analysis has just been published in the Northwestern Human Rights Law Journal.

Jessica Ní Mhainín

Jessica Ní Mhainín

Head of Policy and Campaigns, Index on Censorship and co-chair of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition

Jessica Ní Mhainín is Head of Policy and Campaigns at Index on Censorship. She joined Index in April 2019 and since 2020 has led Index’s project work, which seeks to protect and defend journalists, human rights defenders, artists, and academics around the world. She is co-founder of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition and has been actively involved in anti-SLAPP campaigns across Europe. She has experience in international human rights advocacy through her work at Front Line Defenders and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). She holds a Master’s degree in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies from the College of Europe.


Corinne Vella

Head of Media Relations at The Daphne Foundation

Corinne is the sister of Daphne Caruana Galiza. She leads the Foundation’s media relations and edits Taste & Flair, the monthly magazine which Daphne founded in 2014 and which the Foundation has continued to publish. Corinne previously spent many years working in media and communications.

Baroness Stowell

Chair of the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee

Tina Stowell is Chair of the House of Lords’ Communications & Digital Select Committee. She is a former Cabinet Minister, Leader of the House of Lords and Chair of the Charity Commission. Before joining the House of Lords in 2010, she spent nine years at the BBC where she was latterly Head of Corporate Affairs. Before that, she ran William Hague’s office when he was Leader of the Conservative Party, and earlier in her career (before two years in the private sector which included short stints at Paradine Productions and Granada Media) she was a civil servant for 10 years, working at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, the British Embassy in Washington, and the Downing Street Press Office. 

Juliet Oliver

Deputy Chief Executive and General Counsel, Solicitors Regulatory Authority

Juliet Oliver is Deputy Chief Executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and its General Counsel. At the SRA Juliet is responsible for legal advice and support on the development of strategic and regulatory reform – leading the root and branch review of its standards and regulations – as well as matters of governance and compliance. She also leads the SRA’s investigation and enforcement function, as well as the organisation’s dedicated anti money laundering directorate. Previously a partner at Fieldfisher she acted for regulatory bodies across sectors including healthcare and law. This built on her previous experience in house at the General Medical Council, which she joined in 2003. Her responsibilities included advising on high profile disciplinary cases and matters, including the Shipman and Mid Staffordshire public inquiries. She sits on the board of the Professional Standards Authority, and is a Trustee of the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund. Recently held roles include Chair of the Investigation Committee and a Case Examiner at the General Optical Council, as well as member of the Professional Standards Committee of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, the Audit Committee of the Royal College of General Practitioners, and the Law Society’s Mental Health and Disability Committee.

Richard Orpin

Director of Regulation & Policy at Legal Services Board

Richard leads the policy, research and regulatory teams at the Legal Services Board. Before joining the LSB, Richard was Public Policy Principal at Ofcom, leading Ofcom’s engagement with Government and Parliament on all broadcasting and media matters. From 2017 to 2022, as Consumer Policy Principal, he led Ofcom’s work on customer fairness. From 2014 to 2017, he managed Ofcom’s review of the regulation of Royal Mail.

Before joining Ofcom in 2014, he worked at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) for seven years, including as Head of Domestic Gambling Policy. He also held policy roles in broadcasting, school sport and culture during his time at DCMS.


Sam Townend KC

Vice-Chair of the Bar Council of England and Wales

Sam Townend is a silk at Keating Chambers and practises in domestic and international construction, energy and professional negligence work. He was nominated for Construction and Energy Junior of the Year at the 2019 Legal 500 awards and was appointed Standing Counsel for the National House Building Council (NHBC).  Sam is also an Accredited Mediator, Adjudicator and Dispute Resolution Board panellist and has acted as Mediator in domestic, international and remote mediations. He also regularly acts as mediation and negotiation advocate, recently acting in arbitrations to final hearing in Australia, Singapore, Paris, the IDRC and, most recently, a fully remote ICC arbitration, along with all forms of alternative dispute resolution. Sam was co-Chair of the Bar Council of England and Wales’ Legal Services Committee and chair of the Regulator Review Working Group, before being elected Vice-Chair of the Bar Council for 2023.  He is Chair of the Bar for 2024.

Susan Hawley

Dr Susan Hawley

Executive Director, Spotlight of Corruption

Dr Susan Hawley is an anti-corruption specialist who has worked on anti-corruption issues in the UK for nearly two decades. She has expertise in policy and research in UK anti-corruption enforcement. Previously she was a founder and Policy Director of Corruption Watch UK, where she led the work on monitoring court trials, tracking UK enforcement and pushing for greater court transparency.

Azzurra Moores

UK Advocacy Officer, Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Azzurra is the UK Advocacy Officer for Reporters Without Borders (RSF), known internationally as Reporters sans frontières (RSF), which works to promote and defend press freedom around the world. Prior to joining RSF, Azzurra was the Research and Advocacy Officer at the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation in Malta, where she worked with Daphne’s family to campaign for accountability and justice in Daphne’s murder.

Mark Stephens CBE

Mark Stephens CBE

Partner Howard Kennedy LLP

Specialising in international, appellate and complex litigation, Mark Stephens undertakes some of the highest profile cases in the country and abroad. He is a solicitor with expertise in constitutional, human rights, IP, media and regulatory work, defamation, privacy, media, art and cultural property, data protection and freedom of information, trusts litigation, intellectual property and international arbitration disputes. He has created a niche in international comparative media law and regulation. He acts in judicial reviews, Privy Council cases- Ultimate Appeal Court for parts of the Commonwealth, as well as, regulatory cases and inquiries.


Carole Cadwalladr

Investigative journalist and columnist

Carole Cadwalladr is a journalist for the Guardian and Observer in the United Kingdom. She worked for a year with whistleblower Christopher Wylie to publish her investigation into Cambridge Analytica, which she shared with the New York Times. The investigation resulted in Mark Zuckerberg being called before Congress and Facebook losing more than $100 billion from its share price. She has also uncovered multiple crimes committed during the European referendum and evidence of Russian interference in Brexit.

Caroline Muscat

Founder, The Shift, Malta

Caroline Muscat is the founder and Managing Editor of The Shift, a community-funded online investigative news portal. She was the former News Editor of The Times of Malta and The Sunday Times of Malta. She contributed to and co-edited the book, ‘Invicta: The Life and Work of Daphne Caruana Galizia’, a journalist assassinated in Malta in October 2017. Caroline was awarded the Reporters Without Borders Prize for Independence, among other awards. The Shift is currently battling 40 appeals filed by the Government of Malta against the news portal to limit access to freedom of information. The sheer number of cases is intended to cripple the news organisation financially as it demands transparency and accountability in the public interest.

Eliot Higgins

British journalist and Founder of Bellingcat

Eliot Higgins is a renowned British journalist and founder of Bellingcat, an investigative journalism platform that uses open-source intelligence to solve critical international cases. Born in 1979, Higgins’ contributions, including MH17 investigation and exposure of Syrian Civil War atrocities, have revolutionized journalism. His work on the Salisbury poisonings won the prestigious 2019 European Press Prize Investigation Award. In 2020, he was also awarded the Machiavelli Prize for his role in enhancing digital investigative journalism. Recognized as a trailblazer, Higgins continues to catalyze transformative changes in how the world understands news, truth, and fact-checking in the digital age.

Rupert Cowper-Coles

Partner at RPC

Rupert Cowper-Coles is an experienced litigator specialising in media and data disputes. Rupert defends a wide range of publishers and data controllers, including media organisations, online platforms, broadcasters, NGOs, book publishers, freelance journalists and charities. He is an expert in defamation, data protection and privacy law as well as other media and information rights, including malicious falsehood, harassment and freedom of information. He is well-versed in advising clients both pre and post publication and, where disputes cannot be resolved consensually, representing their interests before regulators and the courts. Rupert has experience in litigating complex and developing areas of law, including interim non-disclosure injunctions, foreign jurisdiction issues, intermediary and website host liability, and the exercise of GDPR data rights. Rupert writes regularly about media law issues and is published in The Lawyer and The Law Society Gazette. 

Peter ter Velde

Reporter, PersVeilig

As a televison reporter Peter ter Velde reported from many war zones and crisis areas such as Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Haiti and Indonesia.

From 1996 to 2001, Peter was an Israel based correspondent for the Dutch national broadcaster NOS.
From 2006 to 2010 he was a special reporter on Afghanistan where he stayed for 4 to 5 months a year.
Back in the Netherlands Peter developed the training ‘Reporting in Conflict Zones’ that is given a couple of times a year by the academy of the Journalists Union. He is also instructor of the Hostile Environment Safety Training of the European Broadcasting Union.

In 2015 Peter became Security Coordinator for NOS News. He is member of the Crisis Management Team of the NOS.

In 2019 he also became project manager of PersVeilig, an initiative by national police, the prosecutor’s office and the media industry to make work for journalists in the Netherlands safer.
Peter is owner of the company PTV-Training.

Michelle-Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary

Michelle Stanistreet

General secretary of the National Union of Journalists

Michelle Stanistreet has been general secretary of the NUJ since being elected in April 2011. She was president of the union in 2006 and worked as a journalist for 10 years at the Sunday Express newspaper as feature writer and books editor. Under her leadership she has championed quality journalism and the role of public interest journalism as a vital function of democracy. The union robustly defends freedom of the press and campaigns against lawfare and SLAPPs, actively seeking employer and government-led measures to ensure journalists’ safety.

Can Yeğinsu

Barrister and Deputy Chair of The High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom

Can Yeginsu is a barrister practising from 3 Verulam Buildings where he has been consistently recognised as one of the U.K.’s leading lawyers practising in civil liberties and human rights, administrative and public law, and international law. Mr. Yeginsu has appeared in numerous cases as counsel representing journalists, as well as free speech and media organisations, before a range of courts and tribunals, including the English Court of Appeal, the U.K. Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the ECOWAS Court of Justice. He is also Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School (New York), where he co-teaches a seminar on freedom of expression and is Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law (Washington D.C.) and Koç University Law School (Istanbul), where he teaches international law.


Sarah Clarke

Director of ARTICLE 19 Europe

Sarah has led ARTICLE 19’s Europe and Central Asia team since 2019 and has been the Director of ARTICLE 19 Europe since March 2023, which defends the human rights to freedom of expression and information through our projects with partners and advocacy across the region. Sarah is a member of the Steering Committees of the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the grant making Legal Affairs Committee of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and sits on the General Council of IFEX. Between 2012 and 2018, she led PEN International’s policy and advocacy work, overseeing its engagement with the UN and regional human rights mechanisms and governments. Sarah has consulted for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the OSCE and Oxford and Harvard universities on issues relating to freedom of expression, asylum and forced migration. She is an expert at Columbia University’s Free Expression Centre and a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Oxford University and BPP Law School.

Rana Ayyub

Global opinions writer at the Washington Post

Rana Ayyub is an Indian investigative journalist and a global opinions writer at the Washington Post. She has worked as a reporter, Editor and columnist with some of the leading publications in India and internationally. Her pieces appear in the Time, New York Times, Guardian, Atlantic and Foreign Policy and she has been profiled for the cover of the New Yorker. Rana has reported extensively on majoritarian politics and violence, extrajudicial killings by the state, Islamophobia, communalism and authored an international bestseller titled “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover-Up.

Rana’s work is focused on the marginalised and the oppressed, she advocates and reports about the fight against misinformation and the protection of democratic ideas. It is for this work that she has faced extreme forms of persecution by the Indian government which includes filing multiple cases for which she is facing trial in India.

In a career spanning fifteen years, Rana has been awarded the Sanskriti award for integrity and excellence in journalism by the former President of India. She was the recipient of the Global Shining Light award for Investigative journalism in the year 2017 and the Most Resilient Global Journalist of 2018 at the Peace Palace in Hague. In 2019, she was named among ten global journalists who faced maximum threats to their lives across the world. In the year, 2018 The United Nations allotted six special rapporteurs to the Indian government to protect her safety, a first for an individual case in India. In 2020, she was announced as the recipient of the McMgill medal for journalistic courage. In the year 2021 she was given the award for ‘Excellence in Journalism and International Human rights by Texas University In 2022, she was awarded the Overseas Press Club Award for her incisive commentary on India and the same year she was awarded the John Aubuchon press freedom honour, the highest journalism award by the Press Club Editorin the United States. She lives in Mumbai with her family. 

he Rt Hon Sir John Whittingdale OBE MP

The Rt Hon Sir John Whittingdale OBE MP

Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology), and Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

Sir John Whittingdale was appointed Minister of State jointly in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology on 9 May 2023 while Julia Lopez is on maternity leave. He was previously appointed a Minister of State for Media and Data in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 14 February 2020.

He previously served as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport from May 2015 until 14 July 2016. He was elected Conservative MP for Maldon in 1992.


Tom Burgis

Investigative reporter & author

Tom Burgis is an award-winning investigative reporter and best-selling author. Based in London after years as a foreign correspondent in South America and Africa, he was a long-standing member of the Financial Times’ investigations team before joining the Guardian’s. He has exposed major corruption scandals, covered terrorist attacks, coups and forgotten conflicts, and traced dirty money from the Kremlin to Washington.

Anneke Van Woudenberg

Executive Director, RAID

Anneke Van Woudenberg is the Executive Director of RAID, which she joined in March 2017. Previously she was the Deputy Africa Director at Human Rights Watch where for 14 years she led in-depth factfinding on human rights violations across sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Africa’s Great Lakes region. She has testified at international war crimes trials, briefed the UN Security Council, the US Congress and the British and European parliaments, and is a frequent commentator in the international press. Anneke has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.


Peter Apps

Contributing Editor for Inside Housing and Author

Contributing Editor for Inside Housing and author of Show Me the Bodies: How We Let Grenfell Happen.

Don Stainford

Don Staniford

Director of $camon $cotland & the Real Salmon Farming Resistance.

Don Staniford is an “Extreme Activist” who has campaigned against toxic salmon pharms for 25 years – he is currently Director of $camon $cotland and Global Director of the Real Salmon Farming Resistance. He is an award-winning campaigner and author. In 2002, he was awarded the Andrew Lees Memorial Award at the British Environment & Media Awards. In 2005, he won the Roderick Haig-Brown BC Book Prize for “A Stain Upon the Sea: West Coast Salmon Farming” (co-authored with Alexandra Morton, Stephen Hume, Otto Langer, Betty Keller and Rosella Leslie).

Nik Williams

Policy and Campaigns Officer, Index on Censorship and co-chair of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition

Nik is a the Policy and Campaigns Officer at Index on Censorship. At the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), he coordinated the inaugural year of the Media Freedom Rapid Response, which responds to violations of media freedom in Europe. Previously, Nik led Scottish PEN’s campaigning and advocacy, focusing on anti-SLAPP, free expression, digital rights and surveillance policy. Nik is also a reader director of the investigative journalism co-op, The Ferret and a journalist protection advisor at The Coalition For Women In Journalism.


Sabah A

Solicitor at Media Defence

Sabah qualified as a solicitor in 2013 and joined Media Defence in 2018. She previously practised in the areas of criminal defence, extradition and civil litigation. Prior to that, Sabah worked on cases involving international human rights law and public law as well as litigating and advocating on various criminal defence and extradition cases before courts in the UK. She has interned at Reprieve, assisting in their death penalty work in the MENA region. Sabah holds a BSc and LLB and is fluent in Urdu and conversational in Arabic.

Elise Perry

Legal Manager, Media Freedom, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Elise manages the legal support options available for journalists and media organisations as the Legal Manager for Media Freedoms at the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2021, Elise was a Global Justice Scholar at New York University and a consultant for the UN Development Programme building collaboration between UN agencies working on rule of law projects. Elise is a qualified lawyer in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University, and a Masters of International Law from New York University.

Dame Margaret Hodge MP

Chair of the APPG on Anti-Corruption and Responsible Tax

Dame Margaret Hodge has been the MP for Barking and Dagenham since 1994. A member of the Labour Party, she previously served as Leader of Islington London Borough Council from 1982 to 1992. She served as the first female Chair of the Public Accounts Committee from 2010 to 2015 and held several government positions in the last Labour government, holding portfolios across education, work and pensions, business and culture. Margaret has been an active community campaigner for over two decades ensuring best health services, tackling rising crime, calling for an end to police cuts and promoting an online Harms Bill. And she has chaired the APPG on Anti-Corruption and Responsible Tax, being an active campaigner against dirty money, economic crime and illicit finance.


Chutima Sidasathian

Investigative Journalist

As a journalist, Oi shared regional awards for investigative reporting and human rights reporting. After exposing the ”pushback” of boatpeople from Thailand, she worked with the New York Times, the BBC, the South China Morning Post, Reuters, AFP and European and Australian outlets  in covering human trafficking through SE Asia. She was sued for criminal defamation and computer crimes by the Royal Thai Navy but a Thai judge dismissed all charges. Two of the projects on which she worked won prestigious Pulitzer Prizes. She has since achieved a PhD in ethnic anthropology and worked as field producer on the documentary, ‘Ghost Fleet,’ which exposed slavery at sea. She now works as an activist and consultant and divides her time between Thailand and Europe. 

Dan Neidle

Dan Neidle

Founder, Tax Policy Associates

Dan Neidle spent almost 25 years as a tax lawyer, and was head of tax at Clifford Chance’s London HQ. During his career, Dan advised corporates, governments, regulators, central banks and NGOs on tax and tax policy. Dan founded Tax Policy Associates in May this year to bring the depth of his experience and specialist expertise to improving tax policy, and shaping and informing the debate around tax.

Pia Sarma

Pia Sarma

Editorial Legal Director of The Times

Pia Sarma is the Editorial Legal Director of Times Newspapers Limited, the publisher of The Times and The Sunday Times, and Deputy General Counsel at News UK, London. She advises the Editors and Journalists of both publications on all content issues including investigations, and leads defence litigation which has liberalised laws for public interest and investigative journalism. Pia has played a key role in the changes in law and regulation affecting journalism and free speech in the UK, campaigning for protections for journalism. Pia is Chair of the London Media Lawyers’ Association, an organisation representing UK broadcasters and publishers.


Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC

Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC (formerly QC) is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, London, specialising in human rights law. She has acted in many landmark cases in the UK in recent years, including representing bereaved families and survivors of the 7/7 London Bombings and the Hillsborough disaster, and in a series of cases which have changed the law for children in custody. Internationally, Caoilfhionn has acted in many significant human rights cases before the European Court of Human Rights and UN bodies. She has acted for, and secured the freedom of, many arbitrarily detained journalists, cartoonists, cultural rights workers and human rights defenders around the world, including in Iran, Egypt, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia and Equatorial Guinea.Caoilfhionn has particular expertise in accountability for crimes against journalists. Her current cases in this field include leading the international legal team for Jimmy Lai, a journalist and pro-democracy campaigner imprisoned in Hong Kong; leading (jointly with colleague Amal Clooney) the international legal team for Maria Ressa, the Nobel Peace Prize winning journalist in the Philippines; leading the international legal team for over 150 BBC Persian journalists, targeted extraterritorially by Iran; and leading the international legal team for the bereaved family of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, assassinated in Malta. Caoilfhionn has given expert evidence on these issues to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Jineth Bedoya v. Colombia), to Parliamentary inquiries in the UK, Australia and the Council of Europe, and to UNESCO (on targeting of women journalists online). Alongside her practice as a barrister, Caoilfhionn sits part-time as a Coroner in England and Wales, and is on the UK Advisory Board of RSF, Reporters Without Borders. She was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2017 for her “outstanding commitment to enabling the Human Rights Act’s protections.”

Sergio Aguayo PHOTO

Sergio Aguayo

Sergio Aguayo is a leading public intellectual in Mexico. He has been working on issues of violence and peace for several years. He did his PhD at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is a professor and researcher for El Colegio de México, a Visiting Professor at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University and a member of the Mexican Researchers National System (Sistema Nacional de Investigadores, SNI). Aguayo writes a syndicated column for eight Mexican newspapers and participates in talk shows in radio and public television. 


Charlie Holt

European Head, Global Climate Legal Defence (CliDef)

Charlie Holt is the European Head of Global Climate Legal Defence (CliDef), an organisation set up to support climate activists facing SLAPPs and other legal threats. He also advises on legal strategy for Greenpeace International, where he leads the organisation’s SLAPP resilience strategy and sits on the European Commission’s Expert Group on SLAPPs. He sits on the Steering Committee of the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) and co-chairs the UK Working Group on SLAPPs. Since 2016, Charlie has advised on the response of Greenpeace International to two aggressive large-scale SLAPPs targeting Greenpeace entities in the USA, and in 2018 helped to set up the US anti-SLAPP coalition Protect the Protest.


Peter Noorlander

Reporters Shield's Director

Peter Noorlander is responsible for building relationships with key stakeholders, overseeing the strategic direction of Reporters Shield, and ensuring that it is on track to achieve its goals and objectives. Peter has extensive experience in international media law. He helped establish and led, which provides legal defence to journalists, and he has been at the heart of international campaigns on issues such as the right to information and ending the imprisonment of journalists for defamation. Peter has also worked at Open Society Foundations, where he oversaw a portfolio of grants to organisations that promote freedom of expression. He is a trustee of Doc Society, a non-profit committed to enabling great documentary films and connecting them to audiences globally, and of Stichting ARTICLE 19 Europe, which advocates for freedom of expression rights in Europe and Central Asia.


David McNeill

Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns for the Law Society

David McNeill is Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns for the Law Society. He leads its work on public affairs and political engagement at a UK level, its media work, international engagement, high level stakeholder management, its delivery of campaigns and its work in Wales. He was Director of Public Affairs and External Relations at Transport for London for over a decade and before that was Director of Press and Public Affairs at Arts Council England. David has previously worked at the Law Society, between 1995 – 2000, when he was Head of Press and before that in the consumer lobby.

Andrew Pepper-Parsons

Andrew Pepper-Parsons

Director of Policy and Communications , Protect

Andy has unparalleled experience of the challenges faced by whistleblowers and the intricacies of the law, having been with Protect since 2007. A policy specialist, he oversees Protect’s lobbying, research and campaign. He spearheaded numerous reports on various aspects of whistleblowing and is a much respected speaker on the subject. 

Zelda Perkins

Co-Founder Can’t Buy My SIlence

Zelda Perkins was the first woman to break an NDA in 2017, signed decades earlier, with Harvey Weinstein. She brought the systematic abuse of NDA’s to the attention of the British Government and international press, giving evidence at two parliamentary inquiries, which uncovered an epidemic of misuse, and pushed the Solicitors Regulatory Authority to take disciplinary action against the lawyer who created the NDA for Weinstein. Her actions have been inspiring others to come forward by her example. She has been campaigning for legislative and regulatory reform in the UK since 2017 and launched the Global campaign Can’t Buy My Silence with Canadian Co Founder, Professor Julie Macfarlane in September 2021. They are working with Government in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Canada and Australia to change legislation and regulation around the misuse of NDA’s. In the spring of 2023 Royal Assent was granted to the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act containing an amendment, created in consultation with CBMS, which prohibits the use of NDAs in cases of sexual misconduct, bullying and discrimination between staff, students and/or visiting speakers – it is the first law of its kind in the UK. Zelda was named a Person of the Year by Time magazine in 2018 and by the Guardian in 2020 for her work in this arena.


Nina Cresswell

Freelance writer and journalist

Nina is a freelance writer who successfully defended a landmark libel case against a tattooist who sexually assaulted her and then sued her for defamation when she named him online. Handed down in April 2023, the judgement suggested for the first time that the protection of other women, and abusers’ accountability for their abuse, are proper factors to be considered in a public interest defence, and that survivors sharing first-hand accounts are in a different position to journalists.

Lucy NAsh

Lucy Nash

Impact Producer on the Enablers team, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Lucy is the Impact Producer on the Enablers team, ensuring that investigations have tangible impact beyond publication. Her team investigates how UK executives, lawyers and accountants enable money and reputations to be laundered in the UK. The UK prides itself on a strong reputation for fighting corruption yet UK professionals and institutions actually play a major role in facilitating global crime and misdeeds. Before joining the Bureau, Lucy worked in Parliament where she focused on improving parliamentary relations with African and Middle Eastern countries and organised a variety of overseas delegations, most recently to Gabon shortly before the country joined the Commonwealth.

Sayra Tekin headshot

Sayra Tekin

Director of Legal, Policy and Regulatory Affairs, NMA

Sayra is director of legal, policy and regulatory affairs for the News Media Association. With a wealth of experience in media law and litigation, she is responsible for the NMA committee, chaired by Lord Black, comprising publisher and editorial representatives and legal and policy experts. Formerly at the BBC, she is an experienced solicitor-advocate with a strong track record for advising journalists and editors and successfully lobbying courts and regulators on issues which threaten press freedom. She has advised on sensitive parliamentary select committee investigations and high-profile public inquiries. Prior to the BBC, Sayra was a dispute resolution specialist at Slaughter and May where she also trained. Sayra is currently co-authoring the practitioner’s textbook, Media Law and Regulation, for Bloomsbury due to be published in 2025.


Peter Geoghegan

Investigative journalist at OCCRP

Peter Geoghegan is an Irish writer, investigative journalist and broadcaster based in London. His work has appeared in numerous national and international outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the London Review of Books, the Times and the Guardian. His most recent book, Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics (2020) was a Sunday Times bestseller. He was previously Editor-in-Chief and CEO at the award-winning website openDemocracy and set up the Ferret, an award-winning, reader-owned investigative journalism platform based in Scotland. He currently works for the investigative outlet the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. 


Patrick Penninckx

Head of Information Society Department Council of Europe

Patrick Penninckx has spent the last 30 years of his career with the Council of Europe, contributing to the transformation processes of the Organisation and developing partnerships with international and national institutions. Currently heading the Information Society Department under the Directorate General Human Rights and the Rule of Law, Patrick coordinates standard setting and cooperation activities in the fields of media, internet governance, data protection, cybercrime and artificial intelligence. He is also responsible for projects related to public-private partnerships and cooperation with business partners. His professional focus encompasses areas such as freedom of expression, safety of journalists, sound internet governance, international standards in the data protection, action against cybercrime and the impact of AI on human rights. An outspoken public speaker promoting the Council of Europe values and achievements, he holds Political Science and Educational degrees from the University of Leuven. Previously, Patrick oversaw Human Resources policy development, transforming the administrative management of personnel into a competency based human resource policy. Patrick is fluent in English, French, German, Spanish and Dutch.


Baroness Kennedy KC

Member of House of Lords of the United Kingdom, leading barrister and an expert in human rights law, civil liberties and constitutional issue

Helena Kennedy KC is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and Director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. She is widely regarded as one of the leading criminal and public law practitioners in the U.K., representing defendants in many landmark cases in the English courts. Lady Kennedy sits on the House of Lords’ EU Committee and chairs the EU Justice Sub-Committee. She formerly sat on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, and formerly chaired the British Council and JUSTICE, a leading all-party human rights and law reform organisation in the U.K.


Rosamund Urwin

Media Editor at The Sunday Times

Rosamund Urwin is the media editor of the Sunday Times and led the paper’s recent investigation into allegations about Russell Brand. She was previously the paper’s Brexit correspondent and broke the story about ‘Operation Yellowhammer’, the leak of papers setting out the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, for which she was shortlisted for reporter of the year and specialist journalist of the year at the 2019 Press Awards and scoop of the year at both the Press Awards and the British Journalism Awards. Her other major stories include exposing the Martin Bashir scandal at the BBC and exposing a series of MeToo stories. She previously worked as a columnist, senior feature writer and interviewer at the Evening Standard.


Jennifer Robinson

Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

Jen Robinson is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London specialising in international law, media law and human rights. Jen has acted in key human rights cases in domestic, regional and international courts. She built a global human rights program to support public interest and movement lawyering which had invested an estimated $70m in training young lawyers and supporting strategic litigation. Her recent book, How Many More Women? Exposing how the law silences women, explores the legal backlash to the MeToo movement.


Alex Chalk KC MP

Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain

Alex Chalk KC MP was appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice on 21 April 2023. He was Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence from October 2022 to April 2023 and was formerly HM Solicitor General for England and Wales and the Prisons and Probation Minister. Alex Chalk KC MP has been the Member of Parliament for Cheltenham since 2015. Prior to being elected in 2015, Alex was a barrister and prosecuted and defended in cases concerning terrorism, international fraud, and homicide. As Justice Minister, Alex led the Domestic Abuse Bill through the Commons. For the first time in history, the Bill includes a wide-ranging legal definition of domestic abuse which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including emotional, coercive or controlling behaviour, and economic abuse. During his time as Prisons Minister, Alex announced a new scheme to provide temporary, basic accommodation to prison leavers for twelve weeks as well as overhauling the unpaid work that offenders are ordered to do as part of community service. As HM Solicitor General, Alex oversaw the work of the Law Officers’ Departments which includes the Crown Prosecution Service and Serious Fraud Office, as well as the Government Legal Department and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate. 

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Virginia Antonelli

Associate Project Officer - Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section, UNESCO Paris

Virginia Antonelli currently holds the position of Associate Project Officer in the Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section at UNESCO in Paris. She supports the implementation of the Rule of Law and Freedom of Expression portfolio, notably UNESCO’s global training programme for members of the judiciary and security forces to strengthen knowledge and capacities on international and regional standards of freedom of expression, access to information and the safety of journalists. She contributed to the development and publication of several UNESCO’s resources for judicial actors and security forces on these issues, including on defamation and SLAPPs. Previously, Virginia worked as Judicial Cooperation Specialist at UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa in Dakar, Senegal. She holds a Master’s Degree in Law from La Sapienza University of Rome.


Teresa Riberio

OSCE Rapporteur on Freedom of the Media

Teresa Ribeiro, of Portugal, is the fifth Representative on Freedom of the Media. She has vast political, diplomatic, human rights and media experience.

Prior to this position, she was Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, while serving as President of the National Commission for Human Rights.

She was also Secretary of State for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal and Deputy Secretary General at the Union for the Mediterranean, positions that gave her extensive experience in dealing with the EU institutions and Member States, as well as with its close neighbourhood.

Throughout her career, Teresa Ribeiro has held different positions in media, both in Portugal and in multilateral organizations, such as President of the Institute of the Media of Portugal, President of the Steering Committee on Mass Media of the Council of Europe, and also Co-founder and first elected President of the Executive Board of Obercom – Media Observatory.

She holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Lisbon.


Vafa Fati-zade

Grants and Partnerships Manager, Justice for Journalists Foundation

Vafa Fati-zadeis an international Project Manager and Lawyer. She has extensive experience in administering and managing large grant portfolios with the major US and European donor organisations. She has vast academic and practical knowledge of monitoring and reporting on human rights violations, democratic development, conducting trial monitoring, profiling political prisoners and carrying out election monitoring. In the course of her career Vafa worked with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), holding various posts in the Missions in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Office in Baku; the headquarters of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Rome, Italy; Brussels-based International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), and consulted Media Law Defence Initiative (MLDI) and International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) in London. She joined the Justice for Journalists Foundation in 2020 to design and launch Orkhan Dzhemal Media Safety Academy and help manage JFJ’s journalistic grant programme. Vafa Fati-zade has an LLM degree in International Human Rights from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom and an MA degree in Social and Public Policy with Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies minor from Duquesne University in the US.  


Mary Fitzgerald

Director of Expression, Open Society Foundations

Mary Fitzgerald is the Open Society Foundations’ director of Expression, leading our global work to advance open society values at the intersection of journalism, technology, and culture and art.

Prior to joining the Open Society, Fitzgerald was editor-in-chief and CEO of the global news outlet openDemocracy, where she built an award-winning team of journalists and oversaw major growth in the organization’s global reach and impact. She established an investigative journalism unit and led ground-breaking campaigns to defend journalism and force transparency from governments and big tech. Before openDemocracy, she worked as a senior campaigner with the global organization Avaaz, where she organized campaigns to defend human rights and expose corruption, and as a senior editor of Prospect magazine in London. She has written for the New York Times, the Guardian, the Financial Times, the New York Review of Books, the Boston Globe, Al Jazeera, and others. She currently sits on the Avaaz board of directors and on the Prospect editorial board. She has also served as a trustee for the human rights charity Reprieve, and on the editorial code committee of Impress, the U.K. press regulator.