World Association of News Publishers

Schibsted Executive, Former Aftonbladet Editor Elected New Chairwoman of WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Board.

Schibsted Executive, Former Aftonbladet Editor Elected New Chairwoman of WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Board.

Paris – 2018-03-15

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, Karin Pettersson will advise and guide WAN-IFRA in its mission to address challenges to media freedom worldwide, develop programmes 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 Karin Pettersson, who’s election to the role was confirmed at a meeting of WAN-IFRA’s Executive Committee in London on 9th 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 organisation’sstrategic 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, mobilise 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.

Karin 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.


Karin is a brilliant, award-winning journalist and entrepreneur recognized by her peers, with a proven track record of success at Scandinavia’s biggest daily newspaper. I am particularly delighted to pass the torch to a professional who represents the next generation of female leaders in media,” said Lars Munch.


“Everything WAN-IFRA does is because we believe press freedom, enhanced by solid independent news publishing companies, is a touchstone of all our freedoms. These values are at the heart of the success of the Schibsted group, and it is a real privilege to have the support of one of its top executives to advance our global mission,” said Vincent Peyrègne, CEO of WAN-IFRA.

Before being appointed Director of Public Policy at Schibsted Group in December 2017, Karin 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.

WAN-IFRA is the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. Its mission is to protect the rights of journalists across the world to operate free media, providing members with professional services to help their businesses prosper in a digital world and perform their crucial role in open societies. It derives its authority from a global network of leading news publishing companies and technology entrepreneurs, and its legitimacy from 60 member publisher associations representing 18,000 publications in 120 countries. 

About WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Programmes. WAN-IFRA believes that increasing media freedom directly strengthens democracy and human rights, and is a foundation of societal development - be it economic, cultural or political. This has been a guiding principle of WAN-IFRA for seven decades of global advocacy and development work. WAN-IFRA responds to requests for support from its membership base and also implements long-term, externally funded advocacy and development initiatives, often collaborating with peers in the international media freedom and media development communities to achieve its aims.

Advocacy actions are coordinated through WAN-IFRA’s growing network of Media Freedom Committees and include large-scale campaigns, coordinated press freedom missions, awareness raising and public events to strengthen safety and protection, legal and regulatory frameworks, reduce censorship and confront other challenges to the editorial and economic independence of media. WAN-IFRA's network of influential editors and publishers also contributes to development actions, which include capacity building initiatives such as skills development training, coaching, mentoring, networking and skills-exchange activities. Operating three main media development programmes in Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia, Latin America and Eurasia, WAN-IFRA mentors 600+ individual media professionals in 25 countries trained by 51 coaches and regional directors.


Inquiries to:

Andrew Heslop, Director Press Freedom WAN-IFRA


Melanie Walker, Director Media Development WAN-IFRA


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