Global Freedom of Expression

Jeffrey Ghannam

Jeffrey Ghannam is an attorney in Michigan and Washington, D.C. working at the nexus of law, global development and media. He recently served the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Saudi Arabia in the formation of an innovative financing facility with the Islamic Development Bank to support healthier lives. Previously, he served as Digital Media Advisor for improved citizen-government engagement in Bangladesh. He was awarded a Knight Fellowship and went on to lead numerous media capacity building, training, and evaluation efforts throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf regions. He has contributed widely to the research, analysis and debate about the early impact of digital media and the limits of free expression leading up to and following the civil movements in the Arab world. His first report for the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance, “Social Media in the Arab World: Leading up to the Uprisings of 2011”, was self initiated in 2010 based on the region’s rapidly changing digital media environment and filled a knowledge gap at the start of the so-called Arab spring. A second report followed in 2012: “Digital Media in the Arab World One Year After the Revolutions”. He has presented on his research at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, Brookings Institution, Google’s Internet at Liberty, and the UN Public Service Forum in Bahrain, among others. He has also served as an advisor to Freedom House and the annual Freedom of the Press Index for the Middle East since 2012. He instructed on the intersection of law and journalism in the pursuit of social justice as the Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Earlier in his career, he was on staff at top-tier media including the Detroit Free Press, where he reported on the law and served as an editor; at the American Bar Association Journal in Chicago where he covered national and international human rights; at The New York Times in Washington, D.C. where he contributed features and news, and UPI Detroit. He has also contributed to The Washington Post, The Economist online, The Boston Globe, and Time magazine in Cairo, among other media. He received a juris doctor from the School of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy, a master’s degree in international affairs and Middle East studies from Georgetown University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University.