Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell To Chair Advisory Council And Join Media Institute Board as Ex Officio Member

FOR RELEASE: Nov. 24, 2014

Contact: Richard T. Kaplar
The Media Institute

Arlington, Va., Nov. 24, 2014 – The Media Institute today announced the launch of a new initiative to help safeguard Internet freedoms around the world.

The “Global Free Speech and the Internet” program will be a forceful advocate for global free speech online.  Chairing the program’s Advisory Council will be former FCC commissioner Robert M. McDowell, widely regarded as a champion of Internet freedoms.  Commissioner McDowell will also become an ex officio member of The Media Institute’s Board of Trustees by virtue of his chairmanship.

The work of the program will be guided by a number of underlying principles, based on the belief that the Internet should be an open and interoperable platform, largely free from government intrusion, where information can be shared freely.

The “Global Free Speech and the Internet” program comes at a time when several countries have tried to advance government-centric models of Internet governance in an attempt to control online speech.

“Through its work products and activities, this program will strive to be a significant force in combating centralized control of the Internet,” said Media Institute President Patrick Maines.

The program’s Advisory Council is comprised of individuals who have distinguished themselves as advocates of a free and open global Internet.  The following members were announced today:

  • Chairman Robert M. McDowell is a partner at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, D.C., and served as an FCC commissioner from 2006 to 2013.  An outspoken supporter of multi-stakeholder governance, Comm. McDowell has written extensively and launched a campaign to rally international opposition against efforts by several countries to regulate the Internet through the International Telecommunication Union.
  • Stuart N. Brotman is a professor of law at Harvard University.  He is an appointed member of the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy (ACICIP), and has served in three presidential administrations.
  • Ambassador David Gross is a partner at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington.  He is one of the world’s foremost experts on international telecommunications, having addressed the United Nations General Assembly and led more U.S. delegations to major international telecommunication conferences than anyone else in modern history.
  • Larry Kilman is the Paris-based Secretary General of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the global organization representing more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites, and 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.
  • Karim A. Lesina is Vice President of International External Affairs for AT&T.  He is also Vice Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU).  He is a board member of the European Internet Foundation.
  • Louise V. Oliver was appointed by President George W. Bush as Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  She served from February 2004 until January 2009.
  • Jacquelynn (Jackie) Ruff is Vice President – International Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs for Verizon.  She represents Verizon as a member of federal advisory committees to the U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the Department of State and to the U.S. Trade Representative.
  • Sally Shipman Wentworth is Vice President of Global Policy Development for the Internet Society.  She has served as Assistant Director for Telecommunications and Information Policy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and as the State Department’s principal advisor on Internet policy issues.
  • Christopher S. Yoo is a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and is the Founding Director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition at the university.

The Media Institute is a nonprofit research foundation working to advance sound communications policy, freedom of speech, and excellence in journalism.  For more information, visit the Institute online at

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