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SA journalist Khadija Patel elected as board chair for the International Press Institute

SA journalist Khadija Patel, has been elected as the 35th chair of the International Press Institute (IPI)‘s global board on Thursday. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

SA journalist Khadija Patel, has been elected as the 35th chair of the International Press Institute (IPI)‘s global board on Thursday. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Published Sep 19, 2021


Cape Town - Former editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian newspaper Khadija Patel, has been elected as the 35th chair of the International Press Institute (IPI)‘s global board on Thursday.

Patel, the head of programmes for the International Fund for Public Interest Media, has previously been described as a “fearless journalist” by former US President Barack Obama who singled her out for a special commendation, during his visit to SA.

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Patel was elected by the IPI's board members during the organization’s World Congress and General Assembly. The assembly was held from 15 to 17 September in Vienna, Austria.

She replaces Markus Spillmann, former editor of Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung, who served two terms after being elected to the position during IPI’s 2018 World Congress in Abuja, Nigeria.

On her appointment, Patel said that she is honoured to be entrusted with the position, and looks 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.”

Separately, the IPI General Assembly elected ten new board members:

  • • Raheem Adedoyin, Chairman, Editorial Board, Herald Newspapers, Nigeria
  • Walid Batrawi, Media and communications expert, Palestine
  • John Daniszewski, Vice President, Standards, Editor-at-Large, The Associated Press, USA
  • Márton Gergely, Editor-in-Chief, HVG, Hungary
  • Emre Kızılkaya, Project editor of, Turkey
  • Elizaveta Osetinskaya, Journalist and media manager, founder of The Bell, Russia
  • Etaf Roudan, Radio Al Balad Manager, Community Media Network – CMN, Jordan
  • Hiroki Sugita, Columnist and Associate Executive Director, Kyodo News, Japan
  • Jussi Tuulensuu, Senior Editor-in-Chief, Aamulehti, Finland
  • Sami Zeidan, Principal Presenter, Al Jazeera Media Network, Qatar

The IPI General Assembly additionally re-elected as Executive Board members Zaffar Abbas, Editor, Dawn newspaper, Pakistan; Mahfuz Anam, Editor & Publisher, The Daily Star, Bangladesh; Monika Eigensperger, Director of Radio, Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF), Austria; David Jordan, Director, Editorial Policy, BBC, UK; Riyad Mathew, Editor, Malayala Manorama and The Week, India; and Khadija Patel.

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Finally, five long-time IPI Executive Board members stepped down due to term limits:

  • Sami El Haj, Head, Human Rights and Public Liberties Desk, Al Jazeera Media Network, Qatar;
  • Daoud Kuttab, Director General, Community Media Network; Founder, AmmanNet, Jordan;
  • Kaius Niemi, Senior Editor-in-Chief, Helsingin Sanomat, Finland;
  • Martha Steffens, Professor, SABEW Chair in Business and Financial Reporting, University of Missouri School of Journalism, USA;
  • John Yearwood, Global News Editor and Editor, China Watcher, POLITICO, USA.

Although stepping down as a board member, Niemi was nominated to serve as a special adviser to the board.

IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi praised the election of Patel, and said that they are thrilled to welcome her as the new board chair and look forward to working with her.

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“We are greatly looking 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 added: “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.”

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