Press Release 2017


Venue and time


2017 Agenda


The working group



Dr. Ma Thida

Writer/ Executive Editor, The Pae Tin Thran News Journal

Yangon, Myanmar

Complete CV

Mr Raghu Mainali

Director, Community Radio Support Centre, Nepal

Raghu Mainali served for 8 years as a print journalist. After that Raghu Mainali started his career in the field of radio in 1991 as producer of daily News and views program on Radio Nepal a state run radio in Nepal for a year. After that he initiated community radio movement in Nepal and about five years of vigorous lobbing succeed to receive the license for Radio Sagarmatha, a first community radio across South Asia and started as the founder program director and station manager of Radio Sagarmatha in 1996. It was the same year that Radio Sagarmatha, the first community radio station of South Asia had been started. Raghu had taken up the mantle of forming the total program structure of the station. Raghu was one of the key individuals that helped in securing the license of the station, an exemplary feat of that time. He served the station for four years before taking up the charge of the executive director of the Community Radio Support Centre. The Centre was established under the auspices of the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) to enable and facilitate the development of the community radio sector in Nepal. Under Raghu’s leadership, the Centre has been directly responsible for establishing more than one hundred community radio stations in Nepal. Raghu serves as the Executive Director of the Centre till date. Community Radio Support Centre/NEFEJ is the recipient of UNESCO-IPDC Prize for Rural Communication 2012.


Mr. Toby Mendel

Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy

Toby Mendel is the Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy, a Canadian-based international human rights NGO that provides legal and capacity building expertise regarding foundational rights for democracy, including the right to information, freedom of expression, the right to participate and the rights to assembly and association. Prior to that he was for 12 years Senior Director for Law at ARTICLE 19, a human rights NGO focusing on freedom of expression and the right to information. He has provided peak level expertise on these rights to a wide range of actors including the World Bank, various UN and other intergovernmental bodies, and numerous governments and NGOs in countries all over the world. This includes law reform work in 2012 in Bhutan, Egypt, Morocco, Myanmar and Tunisia. Before joining ARTICLE 19, he worked as a senior human rights consultant with Oxfam Canada and as a human rights policy analyst at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). He has published extensively on a range of freedom of expression, right to information, communication rights and refugee issues, including comparative legal and analytical studies on public service broadcasting, the right to information and broadcast policy.

Michelle J. Foster

Media Management and Marketing

Foster is a media management and marketing consultant who helps independent news media to become financially strong.  She has worked with news media organizations throughout the United States as well as in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and East Timor.Foster is a former Knight International Journalism Fellow who worked throughout S.E. Asia while based in Cambodia.  She has served on a Working Group organized by the National Endowment for Democracy to identify best practices in developing sustainable and independent media.  She has authored various reports on the field of international media development, including Calling the Shots: How Ownership Structures Affect the Independence of News Media (Center for International Media Assistance, 2012), .From 1991 until 2003, Foster was the senior market development executive for Gannett Co., Inc.’s Newspaper Division (it is the largest newspaper company in the United States).  As such, she oversaw marketing efforts for 97 daily newspapers, a host of national brands, and niche/vertical product lines. She led efforts in branding, consumer and business marketing, database development, market intelligence, and the migration of brands from traditional to online media.  Prior to that, she was the marketing executive at a number of local newspapers.Foster has won numerous national and regional advertising awards.  She has won repeated recognition for excellence in innovation and for marketing leadership.   She has lived in China, Taiwan and Cambodia and speaks Chinese.