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Media Defence Announces Carlos Gaio as New Chief Executive Officer

Media Defence Announces Carlos Gaio as New Chief Executive Officer

Media Defence is pleased to announce Carlos Gaio as its new Chief Executive Officer. Carlos has worked in the Legal Team at Media Defence since 2020 and is stepping in as CEO on 1st March 2023, replacing Alinda Vermeer.

Prior to joining the organisation, Carlos worked for ten years as a senior lawyer at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He also worked for human rights foundations and NGOs in the UK and in Brazil, specialising in international human rights law and litigation on a range of themes and regions. He also has experience in government and intergovernmental advocacy.

“We are delighted to welcome Carlos Gaio as the new CEO. Carlos is a highly skilled human rights lawyer who will bring new ideas and expertise to the role. Having worked at Media Defence for three years, Carlos has extensive experience delivering legal defence to journalists as well as a strong commitment to our mandate.

We would like to thank Alinda Vermeer for the vital role she has played in Media Defence’s journey. For nine years, Alinda has been an asset to Media Defence, working as part of the Legal Team before taking over as CEO in 2020. Under her leadership, the organisation has grown, reaching new regions and increasing the number of new cases it takes each year by 50%. We are grateful to Alinda for her dedication, expertise and passion, and wish her all the best for the future.”

Sarah Bull, Chair of Media Defence’s board of trustees.

“It has been a privilege to work alongside so many brilliant colleagues, lawyers and journalists over the years. I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made since I joined Media Defence as a Legal Officer in 2014, extending our outreach into new regions, setting strong precedents at international courts, and building a global network to make a free, robust legal defence available to thousands more journalists. Over the past decade, I have witnessed the worrying decline in press freedom, with more cases, from more countries, than we have ever seen before. I am heartened, however, by the proficiency, determination and resilience of the team at Media Defence, and am confident that, with Carlos as its helm, it will rise to meet the challenge.”

Alinda Vermeer, outgoing CEO.

Press freedom is in crisis worldwide. As part of its 2020 – 2024 strategy, Media Defence is enhancing the availability and quality of legal defence for journalists around the world as well as the coordination of strategic litigation on media freedom. Previously working as Senior Legal Manager, Carlos has worked on emergency defence and strategic litigation cases, supporting journalists and challenging unjust laws affecting freedom of expression globally. In the coming years, Carlos will work on delivering Media Defence’s strategy and continue to grow its income, with the aim of expanding its support around the world.

“It is a privilege and a great responsibility to be appointed as CEO of Media Defence. I have deep respect for the talented and dedicated staff that make it up and am passionate about Media Defence’s leading role in the defence of journalists and independent media worldwide. As the last few years have made clear, our support is more needed than ever since we were set up 15 years ago. I am steadfast in my commitment to enhance our reach and provide high-level legal support to journalists in need all over the world.”

Carlos Gaio, new CEO.


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