BIO: Courtney C. Radsch, PhD, is a writer and speaker who focuses on the intersection of technology, media, and rights. Currently, she is a fellow at UCLA’s Technology, Law and Policy Institute where her research focuses on internet governance and the platformatization of geopolitics; media sustainability and the future of journalism; and the evolving socioeconomic and technopolitical effects of media and technology. She is the author of of Cyberactivism and Citizen Journalism in Egypt: Digital Dissidence and Political Change (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016) based on her pioneering doctoral research and has published in top media outlets The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Al Jazeera, Columbia Journalism Review, and Project Syndicate, among others. as well as peer-reviewed journals. Radsch is a frequent public speaker and regularly provides expert commentary in the media, including CNN, Al Jazeera, NPR, and other global media outlets. She has led media assessment and advocacy missions to more than a dozen countries and has provided expert testimony to Congress, the OSCE, OECD, and the United Nations. Dr. Radsch’s research and work are informed by a commitment to human rights and ensuring the sustainability of independent media.
Dr. Radsch specializes in transforming research and ideas into action while building cross-functional organizational strategies and alliances to advance policy objectives and knowledge. She spent seven years as Director of Advocacy and Communications at the Committee to Protect Journalists and previously worked at UNESCO and as a journalist in the Middle East. Dr. Radsch holds a Ph.D. in international relations from American University, a M.S. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Radsch holds several affiliations and in addition to her role at ITLP she is a senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS); and was a 2022 visiting scholar at Annenberg’s Center for Media at Risk. She provides strategic consulting and policy research for mission-driven organizations such as ARTICLE19, the International Women’s Media Foundation, Internews, the Global Forum for Media Development, and the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. She specializes in transforming research and ideas into action while building cross-functional organizational strategies and alliances to advance policy objectives and knowledge. Drawing on her experiences as a journalist, diplomat, and advocate, she brings a 360-degree perspective informed by a purpose-driven career and is skilled at shaping strategic conversations that ignite collaboration and drive decision-making that upholds human rights and democratic values.
Dr. Radsch is a frequent speaker and writer on topics including technology, freedom of expression, journalism, and human rights. Radsch has led advocacy missions to more than a dozen countries, U.N. bodies, and the Internet Governance Forum and trained journalists and free expression activists around the world. She is regularly consulted by tech companies in their policy development processes and human rights impact assessments on topics as diverse as content moderation, AI, counterterrorism 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 commitment 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 on marginalized and at-risk communities, her work examines the evolving socioeconomic and technopolitical effects of media and technology.
As Director of Advocacy and Communications at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Radsch spearheaded campaigns 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 oversaw communications. Among the issues she focused on were content moderation, countering violent extremism online, disinformation, and the role of tech firms in the media ecosystem. She spearheaded research and advocacy 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 was an advisor to the UK-Canada led Global Media Freedom Coalition and its High-Level Legal Panel.
Dr. Radsch serves on the board of Tech Policy Press and the advisory board of the Dangerous Speech Project and Ranking Digital Rights. She was appointed by the U.N. Secretary General in 2021 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 and part of the Best Practice Forum on Gender and Digital Rights. In 2022, she was appointed to the International Advisory Council of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). Dr. Radsch serves on the policy committee of the Global Network Initiative and advisory bodies for the Christchurch Call, and the transparency working groups of the GIFCT and the OECD. She was a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the outreach and partnership chair for GigaNet (the academic network of internet governance scholars) .
Radsch 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 the 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 economy, 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. Prior to CPJ, she worked with UNESCO’s Section for Freedom of Expression, where she coordinated strategy in the Arab region and edited the flagship publication “World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development.” Radsch previously managed the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House, where she edited Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights.
Curated lists of her media interviews, books, articles and opeds, and talks are available at http://www.mediatedspeech.com