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Job: Non-executive director

openDemocracy is seeking a highly experienced legal professional to join its Board of Directors during a critical period of growth. Deadline: 4 October.

11 September 2020
openDemocracy, Carys Boughton. All rights reserved.

openDemocracy is a global media outlet dedicated to challenging power and inspiring change, by producing reliable, trustworthy journalism and through building skills, knowledge and capacity within the media and civil society across the world.

Our investigative reporting on ‘dark money’ and threats to human rights globally has triggered law change, parliamentary probes and criminal investigations, and has been picked up across the global media, including by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, the New Yorker, the Daily Mail, CNN, the BBC, Sky News, Deutsche Welle, Al-Jazeera, el Pais, Newsweek and many others across the world. Our site currently attracts more than 11 million visits per year, and we host a diverse range of independent projects – including those publishing in Russian, Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese as well as English.

We are funded by a wide range of institutional donors and by voluntary contributions from our readers, and we are committed to developing new business streams to diversify our funding model.

Our Strategic Plan 2020-22 sets out the following 5 objectives:

  • Grow and deepen the impact of openDemocracy’s journalism across the world
  • Expose and challenge the global backlash against democracy and human rights
  • Build skills and capacity among groups under-represented in the media
  • Foster pluralism and innovation
  • Increase organisational capacity, resilience and financial sustainability

Role specification

The nature of our work means we are sometimes the target of legal threats, often from powerful and wealthy individuals or institutions who want to silence or discredit us. While we are experienced (and insured) in dealing with UK libel law, the increasingly global and complex nature of our journalism means we have to engage with a range of different legal questions in numerous different jurisdictions – from employment and tax compliance, to defamation and privacy. In addition, we sometimes engage in strategic litigation in order to serve our mission: for example, to prompt disclosures from governments, or to bring about law or policy change to improve transparency, access to information, to protect and enhance the rights of journalists and other areas which fall into our remit.

We are looking to recruit a new non-executive Director who can support and guide us on the wide range of legal matters that arise – from threats to compliance to strategic opportunities.

While we recognise that no one person can be expert in many areas, we are seeking someone who is able to draw on a strong network, deep professional knowledge and an impressive legal track record.

As a member of the board, a non-executive Director will contribute to the governance of openDemocracy by helping to guide its strategy, goals and objectives. The board also oversees openDemocracy’s performance, supports openDemocracy’s mission and uses its networks and industry expertise to help achieve its vision.

openDemocracy.net is published by openDemocracy Limited, a UK-registered company wholly owned by the non-profit openDemocracy Foundation for the Advancement of Global Education. It is partly funded by charitable grants and gifts to the openDemocracy programme of the Open Trust, a UK-registered charity.

Person specification

  • Passionate and persuasive about openDemocracy’s mission
  • A strong track record which complements openDemocracy’s mission: either experience in litigating in human rights, journalism, freedom of expression, or working in global NGO/non-profits
  • A wide professional network from which to draw on to help support, defend and enhance openDemocracy’s journalism globally
  • A robust and pragmatic approach to legal challenges

Desirable

  • Experience working with media and journalists
  • If you have not previously held any non-executive or trustee positions, you should demonstrate a track record of influencing the direction of your organisation at board level. If you already have significant non-executive or trustee experience, please detail this

A key priority for openDemocracy is to help build a more inclusive international media ecosystem. We strongly encourage applications from all groups that are under-represented in the media.

Terms of appointment

This role is unremunerated and the initial term of appointment is four years, which can be renewed for a further four years by mutual agreement. All Board members can claim expenses for travel/accommodation.

Commitment

Three board meetings per year (remote dial-in facilitated) plus one half-day in person strategy session and ad hoc advisory work.

To apply please send your CV and a short cover letter to [email protected] by 4 October.

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Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Layla Moran Liberal Democrat MP (TBC)

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

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