Courtney C. Radsch, Ph.D., is a thought leader, speaker, and published author focused on the nexus of technology, media and rights. Dr. Radsch is accomplished at transforming research and ideas into action while building cross-functional organizational capacity and alliances to advance policy objectives. She is skilled at shaping strategic conversations that ignite collaboration and drive decision-making that upholds human rights and democratic values.
Dr. Radsch is the author of Cyberactivism and Citizen Journalism in Egypt: Digital Dissidence and Political Change, based on her pioneering doctoral research, along with more than a dozen book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. Her articles and commentary have been published in The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Al Jazeera, Columbia Journalism Review, and the Project Syndicate, among others. She is a frequent public speaker on topics including technology, freedom of expression, journalism, and human rights. Radsch regularly provides expert commentary in the media, has been invited to testify before Congress, and has participated in expert consultations at the United Nation, OSCE, OECD and E.U. She has led advocacy missions to more than a dozen countries, U.N. bodies, and the Internet Governance Forum. She is regularly consultated by tech companies in their policy development processes and human rights impact assessments on topics as diverse as content moderation, AI, counterterroism and online harassment. Her Arab Media blog was an early chronicle of her observations on the region’s media in the years leading up to and following the “Arab Spring.”
Her research interests lie at the intersection of technology, politics, and the media and are informed by a committment to human rights and social justice. From exploring how cyberactivism and citizen journalism empowered youth movements in the Middle East to interrogating the dramatic impacts of content moderation and online harassment, her work examines the evolving socioeconomic and technopolitical effects of media and technology. Drawing on her experiences as a journalist, academic, activist and practitioner, she brings a 360-degree perspective informed by a purpose-driven career.
As Director of Advocacy and Communications at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Radsch spearheaded advocacy on freedom of expression and journalist safety issues, including physical and digital threats, and led its technology policy work and engagement with international organizations. As CPJ’s chief spokesperson and policy advocate, she led campaigns on behalf of killed and imprisoned journalists and oversees communications. Among the issues she has focused on were content moderation, countering violent extremism online, disinformation, and the role of tech firms in the media ecosystem. She is also working on issues related to online harassment of journalists, particularly women, and looking at the press freedom dimensions of internet governance issues, such as digital sovereignty, surveillance and privacy, and net neutrality/zero-rating. She is a founding member of the ACOS (A Culture of Safety) Alliance, which aims to improve freelancer safety and serves on the masthead of Tech Policy Press.
Dr. Radsch is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was appointed by the U.N. Sevretary General to the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), where she is also a founding member of the Dynamic Coalition on Sustainability of Journalism and the News Media. She is a non-resident fellow at the Center for Media and Society; and is the outreach and partnership chair for GigaNet, the academic network of internet governance scholars. She serves on the policy committee of the Global Network Initiative and advisory bodies for the Christchurch Call, the UK-Canada led Global Media Freedom Coalition and its High-Level Legal Panel, and the transpareny working groups of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) and the OECD.
She started her career in journalism at the Daily Star in Lebanon, where she fell in love with the Middle East and started learning Arabic. She then worked in the Washington Bureau of The New York Times, where she covered the presidential election and wrote about the politics of art. As she was wrapping up her doctoral fieldwork in Egypt, she was recruited to manage he English-language website of Al Arabiya in Dubai and expand its original reporting. She helped lead the transition to integrate the web and broadcast newsrooms, and the Arabic and English coverage. As the global economic crisis worsened and Dubai considered a law to criminalize the publication of news that negatively impacted the economony, she lost her job because of an article she wrote and was forced to leave the country. This experience prompted her transition to press freedom advocacy, first at Freedom House, then at UNESCO, and most recently at CPJ.
Dr. Radsch holds a Ph.D. in international relations from American University, a master’s of science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in mass communication from the University of California, Berkeley. She speaks Arabic, French and Spanish.