TLN Freedom of the Media Award Ceremony

National Press Club
Washington, D.C.
September 17, 2022

“It’s our duty as journalists to shine light into the dark recesses of government secrecy.”

- Society of Professional Journalists


The Transatlantic Leadership Network is pleased to announce the creation of the TLN Freedom of the Media Awards for Distinguished Reporting that expose betrayals of the public trust and demonstrates the importance and impact of journalism that holds powerful people and organizations accountable.

The awards will be announced and presented each September at the TLN Freedom of the Media Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony.

The TLN awards recognize superior enterprise reporting and production and place a premium on stories that impact society in the following categories.

Public Service

The TLN Gold Medal will be awarded to a U.S. news organization or individual for their extraordinary contribution and excellence in journalism.

Investigative Reporting

The TLN Gold Medal will be awarded to a foreign news organization or individual for a distinguished example of investigative reporting that exposes wrongdoing by government, corporate and public institutions.

Explanatory Reporting

 For a distinguished example of creative reporting and writing that explains a complex subject that impacts the public interest.

International Reporting

For distinguished reporting that illuminates how actions of powerful institutions either positively or negatively impact global peace and security.

Commentary and Criticism

 For incisive coverage of cultural and political issues with which societies grapple, including racism, religious prejudice, sexual abuse, and loss of public trust in institutions.

Next Generation Journalism Reporting

 For a younger journalist’s courageous accounting of international conflicts, government corruption, or violation of human rights.



TLN’s Senior Fellow Dr. Ali Abusedra is the co-Founder of the London Foundation for International Law. He worked on the legal aspects of the Palm Island Project, the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, and the Arbitration Center in Ajman. Dr. Abusedra has participated in UAE negotiations with the White House on free trade agreements between the UAE and United States; and negotiations with the International Criminal Court on the case of lawyers detained in Libya who were sent by the ICC.

Kristina Arriaga is a respected scholar and internationally recognized advocate for expressive rights. Her distinguished career includes heading a public interest law firm in the U.S. and being a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the U.S. delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Vice-Chair of the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom. Arriaga served on the US delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.  She is the 2017 recipient of the Newseum’s Freedom of Expression Award for her work in religious liberty.

TLN’s Vice President Mike Barbero is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General. He has testified several times before Congress on security issues in the Middle East and has participated in numerous national and international media programs. He has four years of experience in the Middle East coordinating intricate political-military operations, advising senior government leaders and building capacities of foreign security ministries and forces while controlling a $13 billion Foreign Military Sales program.

TLN’s Senior Fellow Dr. Roudi Baroudi is the CEO of Energy & Environment Holding. He has 40 years of experience in the fields of oil and gas, petrochemicals, power, energy-sector reform, energy security, environment, carbon-trading mechanisms, privatization, and infrastructure and has worked in program development with the World Bank, the IMF, the European Commission, USAID, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and the Italian Bilateral Protocols, as well as multilateral agency financing in the United States, the Middle East, Central Asia, Japan, and Europe.

TLN’s Distinguished Energy Fellow Debra L. Cagan worked as a career State Department diplomat and Defense Department official from the Reagan to Trump administrations, including serving as Deputy Assistant secretary of Defense for Coalition, Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Disaster Relief; Senior Director for European, Russian, and Eurasian security issues; Special Adviser for Strategic and Nuclear Policy for Europe; Senior Adviser to United States and NATO military officials. She led negotiations for the Highly Enriched Uranium Agreement with Russia and headed coalition operations for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Peter S. Canellos is editor at large at POLITICO, overseeing investigative journalism and major projects. He has also been POLITICO’s executive editor, overseeing the newsroom during the 2016 presidential coverage, and the editorial page editor of The Boston Globe. He also edited the Globe’s book, “Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy,” which was a top-10 New York Times bestseller in 2009. As an editor, he has overseen two Pulitzer Prize-winning projects along with five others that were Pulitzer finalists, among many other awards. As a writer, he was recipient of the American Society of Newspaper Editors award in 2011 for excellence in editorial writing. For the past 12 years, Peter has worked with the International Women’s Media Foundation overseeing the Elizabeth Neuffer fellowship, given to a woman journalist from around the world to study human rights at MIT and intern at the Globe and New York Times.

TLN’s Senior Fellow, John Craig served as the United States Ambassador to Oman. Just after Sept. 11, 2001, he was appointed by President George W. Bush as a Special Assistant to the President for Combatting Terrorism. He served on the staff of the National Security Council with Gen. Wayne Downing, Deputy National Security Advisor. He was appointed as Boeing International Corporation’s regional vice president in the Middle East. Ambassador Craig is Ambassador-in-Residence at the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.

Abderrahim Foukara was born and raised in Morocco. He later moved to the United Kingdom where he completed a PhD in Apartheid studies. In 1990 he joined the BBC World Service where over the next nine years he served in different roles, including as a producer, reporter, anchor, and journalism instructor, in Arabic, African and World Service Training departments. In 1999 he moved to the United States where he worked as a reporter at The World, a joint BBC, Public Radio, and GBH Boston production. In 2001, Abderrahim was a visiting English and French Senior Editor on, one of the world’s largest providers of African news and analysis. He joined Al Jazeera Arabic in 2002 as a reporter in Washington, D.C. and later as head of the channel’s bureau at the United Nations in New York. He is currently the Al Jazeera Network Bureau Chief in the Americas and host of Min Washington, a weekly current affairs show on Al Jazeera Arabic. Abderrahim is a recognizable voice on panels and media outlets such as NPR, MSNBC, and CNN.

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger is non-Resident Senior Fellow at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies. Previously, he was the Foreign Editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Frankenberger is a Member of the Trilateral Commission and of the Scientific Council of the Institute for European Politics in Berlin. Frankenberger served as Congressional Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 to 1986. He was a Marshall Fellow at Harvard University in 1990. He has lectured at several American universities. In 2011, he was a Bosch Fellow at the Transatlantic Academy in Washington, D.C. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Federal Academy for Security Policy in Berlin and is associated with several organizations that deal with the transatlantic relationship.

TLN’s Chairman Dr. Michael Haltzel is also a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins University SAIS. Dr. Haltzel served as Democratic Staff Director, Subcommittee on European Affairs, Senate Foreign Relations Committee and European policy advisor to President (then- Senator) Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and has headed United States Government delegations to three OSCE review conferences in Warsaw, Copenhagen, and Vienna. His previous positions include Chief of the European Division, Library of Congress; Director of West European Studies, Woodrow Wilson Center; Vice President for Academic Affairs, Longwood University (Virginia); and Deputy Director, Aspen Institute Berlin. Dr. Haltzel has been decorated by seven countries of the European Union.

TLN’s President Dr. Daniel S. Hamilton is Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, where he has served as the Richard von Weizsäcker Professor, Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Professor, and founding director of the School’s Center for Transatlantic Relations. He currently directs the School’s postdoctoral program on “The United States, Europe, and World Order.” He directed the Global Europe program at the Woodrow Wilson Center and was Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has held a variety of senior diplomatic positions, including United States Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs; United States Special Coordinator for Southeast European Stabilization; Associate Director of the Policy Planning Staff for two United States Secretaries of State; and Director for Policy in the Bureau of European Affairs.

Anne-Elisabeth Moutet is a French journalist, writer and broadcaster. She writes comment and analysis for The Telegraph and UnHerd in London, and comments the news on France Info and France 24 TV, the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Österreichischer Rundfunk. Contributions to other media include the New York Post, the SpectatorPerspectiveLe Spectacle du MondeThe European Conservative (Vienna), and the Centre for Policy Studies’ CapX along with radio & TV appearances for multiple channels, including SKY News, GB News, LBC, LCI, BFMTV, CNEWS, RTÉ (Ireland), RTS (Switzerland) and WION (India). Anne-Elisabeth Moutet sits on the Steering Committee of the Club of Three (London) and on the advisory boards of Zenger News (Washington) and The European Conservative (Vienna).

Michel El Murr was only 22 when he began to revolutionize the Lebanese and regional media landscape and founded the MTV Terrestrial Channel. In 2002, while Lebanon was still under the Syrian occupation, Michel refused to yield to pro-Syrian, Lebanese authorities at the time, who forced MTV to shut down. In 2009, he re-launched MTV Lebanon with a team of over 500 people.  Michel repositioned MTV as a leading network in Lebanon, covering the Pan-Arab world, along with other continents. His investigative reporting on corruption, foreign meddling in Lebanon, including Hezbollah, and various government mishandlings gained wide popularity, particularly amongst the Middle Eastern youth. He is a winner of “2021 TLN Freedom of the Media” award for International Reporting.

Newsweek’s Peter Roff has been a contributing editor to the venerated newsweekly since 2018. His weekly website column focuses on American political and media issues including the importance of defending first amendment rights. From 2008 to 2019, he authored a thrice-weekly online opinion column as a contributing editor for U.S. News and World Report. From 2000 to 2005, he was an integral part of United Press International’s Washington coverage, contributing regular features including Capitol Comment, The Peters Principles, and the legendary wire service’s weekly WhiteHouseWatch. His writing has appeared in The New York Post, The New York Daily News, Investors Business Daily, The Daily Caller, The Detroit News, The Houston Chronicle, The Orange County Register, and other newspapers throughout the United States.  He also has a syndicated column and appears regularly on U.S. and international television and radio discussing the U.S. political climate and elections.

Doug Saunders is The Globe and Mail’s international affairs columnist. He has been a writer with the Globe since 1995, and has extensive experience as a foreign correspondent, having run the Globe’s foreign bureaus in Los Angeles and London. He has won the National Newspaper Award, the Canadian counterpart to the Pulitzer Prize, on five occasions, including an unprecedented three consecutive awards for critical writing in 1998-2000, and awards honoring him as Canada’s best columnist in 2006 and 2013. He has also won the Stanley McDowell Prize for writing and has been shortlisted for a National Magazine Award. His work has been awarded the Schelling Prize in Architectural Theory, the National Library of China Wenjin Book Award and the Donner Prize.

Natalie Sedletska is an award-winning investigative journalist from Ukraine and Editor-in-Chief and host of “Schemes: Corruption in Details”, a weekly program with Radio Free Europe and the Ukrainian First National TV channel. Her extraordinary reporting on government corruption and misuse of public procurements, along with revealing of the corrupt judiciary system, earned Sedletska global support. In April of 2021, the European Court of Human Rights ruling affirming Sedletska’s petition against efforts in 2018 by Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General, who attempted to gain broad and unwarranted access to data on her cellphone, was a welcome news for journalists as it protects the confidentiality of journalistic communications setting the limits for executive power. She is a winner of “2021 TLN Freedom of the Media” award.

Mujo Selimovic, publisher of the award-winning Oslobodjenje daily newspaper and owner of the Oslobodjenje TV station, stands as a light of media independence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans. In recognition of his work, Selimovic was elected in 2019 as a board member of the WAN-IFRA World Printers Forum, headquartered in London. Oslobodjenje is a longstanding partner of the EU Mission and the USAID office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on programs designed to fight widespread corruption. Selimovic is a winner of “2021 Freedom of the Media” award for Commentary and Criticism.

TLN’s Executive Vice President, Dr. Sasha Toperich, was a Senior Fellow and Director of the Mediterranean Basin, Middle East, and Gulf initiative at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C. and has served as the Presidential Envoy from Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United States. Dr. Toperich is a Nonresident Fellow at the Soran University Research Center in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Chairman of the Board at the Mediterranean Development Initiative (MDI) in Tunis, Tunisia. An internationally renowned concert pianist, he has performed in Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, and the Tokyo Kioi Hall, among other venues.

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning journalist and cybersecurity correspondent at Newsweek who has worked for the BBC, United Press International and POLITICO, and an expert on cybersecurity and counterterrorism who has presented at leading conferences like Hacker Halted and the Aspen Security Forum. He is also a seasoned newsroom manager and business leader who has, in the past decade, launched and run two of the best-respected and most widely read DC daily cyber security newsletters — POLITICO Pro’s Morning Cybersecurity and Scoop News Group’s CyberScoop. He became UPI’s Homeland and National Security Editor shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, covering the Department of Homeland Security from its standup in 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became law in the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act earned him a “Dateline Washington” award from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2005.

Fairouz Ziani is one of Al Jazeera Arabic TV principal news presenters, widely regarded as one of the foremost media figures in promoting freedom of expression in the Arab world. She was a winner of “TLN 2021 Gold Medal” for Investigative Reporting for her Day in Wuhan” documentary movie, which was filmed and broadcast at the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, contained exclusive images from within sealed-off medical areas in that city, including interviews with Chinese officials who were attempting to conceal information on Covid from the international community.

Awardees 2022

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