Karin Pettersson, director of Public Policy at the Schibsted Media Group, has been elected chairwoman of the WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Board. She succeeds Lars Henrik Munch, chairman of JP/Politikens Hus, who had held the post since 2013.
In her new role, Pettersson will advise and guide WAN-IFRA in its mission to address challenges to media freedom worldwide, develop programs to strengthen business and editorial competencies, and increase diversity of leadership and voices within the media.
“I have spent my life in journalism, politics and advocacy. What fundamentally drives me is a belief that journalism has the power to make the world a better place,” said Pettersson, whose election to the role was confirmed at a meeting of WAN-IFRA’s Executive Committee in London on 9 March 2018.
“Around the globe authoritarian regimes threaten freedom of expression and the possibility for journalists to report and speak truth to power. There is an urgent need to strengthen our profession, and the work that WAN-IFRA does to support human rights and fundamental democratic values is extremely important,” she continued.
WAN-IFRA is a global industry association guided by a human rights mandate to promote media freedom, and the economic independence of news media as an essential condition of that freedom. Within the scope of this mandate, the Media Freedom Board has a primary role to provide both guidance and insight to the organization’s strategic direction, as well as practical support to WAN-IFRA’s on-going work with approximately 150 media entities and 600+ media professionals in 25 countries worldwide.
WAN-IFRA has a unique ability to engage, mobilize and empower the media industry to tackle media freedom challenges. Drawing directly upon skills and expertise from within the industry itself, a peer-to-peer approach to knowledge sharing and collective action results in a stronger advocacy voice that promotes solidarity across the sector.
Pettersson’s primary task will be to advise on the implementation of WAN-IFRA’s five-year media freedom strategic roadmap and assist the expansion of programmes successfully implemented under the tenure of outgoing chairman, Lars Munch.
Before being appointed director of Public Policy at Schibsted Group in December 2017, Pettersson was the political editor-in-chief at Aftonbladet, Scandinavia’s largest daily newspaper. She is co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Fokus, Sweden’s leading newsmagazine. During her time at Fokus, the publication won one of Sweden’s most prestigious awards for reinventing political journalism. At Aftonbladet, Karin quadrupled the readership of the editorial page and started a new digital brand for editorial journalism online. She won the European Newspaper Award for a series about Roma people in Stockholm, and is the 2017 Nieman-Berkman Fellow in Journalism Innovation.