The trustees of Internews, an international charity dedicated to freedom of expression and trusted media, have elected Mark Stephens, CBE as the organisation’s new UK & Europe board chair.
The Times newspaper has previously described Stephens as a “passionate supporter of human rights” and “one of the best advocates for freedom of expression.” An experienced Chair, twice voted amongst the 1000 most influential people by the London Evening Standard, Stephens brings considerable experience to the role, from his diverse and high profile career.
Daniel Bruce, Chief Executive of Internews Europe, said “I’m thrilled to have somebody of Mark’s gravitas and expertise leading our board of trustees. As a true internationalist and one of the legal profession’s greatest champions of human rights, he takes up this important role at a critical time for our sector where protecting access to trusted news and information has never felt more urgent.”
David Hoffman, Internews’ founder and outgoing chair said, “Internews is safe in Mark Stephens’ hands. He is a relentless defender of human rights and a free and open media. It is a real honour to turn over the chairmanship of this great organisation to him.”
Stephens is currently head of the Media Law and Regulatory Practice at London law firm Howard Kennedy LLP. In 2011, Stephens was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for his services to the legal professions.
His other board experience includes Chairing the University of East London, Global Network Initiative, Design Artists Copyright Society and Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation.
Commenting on his appointment, Stephens said, “The work of Internews is absolutely vital. The antidote to the current plague of disinformation, propaganda and the like is a healthy dose of real news. I believe Internews is uniquely placed to use its global expertise and networks of partners to rebuild trust in media from the ground up.” He added, “I plan to build on the solid foundations laid for me.”
Stephens has assisted governments in their drafting of legislation, in the UK in the 1990s regarding the regulation of the press and in Romania in 2005 regarding freedom of information laws. He has previously been appointed by the Foreign Secretary to the FCO Free Expression advisory board and the Lord Chancellor to be a Champion for the Community Legal Service.