A Letter from IARJ Board Chairman Douglas Todd
It’s an honour to confirm that IARJ Executive Director Endy Bayuni has been appointed to Facebook’s Oversight Board.
Endy, a veteran journalist from Indonesia and a well-traveled advocate for international dialogue, was one of 20 people from around the world appointed to Facebook’s influential Oversight Board (OB), an independent content-review body.
Tasked with ruling on ethical dilemmas that balance Internet free speech against misinformation and real-world harm, the OB team has already made several key decisions, including ruling this month that former U.S. president Donald Trump’s Facebook account would be continued to be suspended, but not necessarily permanently.
The OB was conceived in 2018 by Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, as a “supreme court” for content decisions. The Economist magazine says “the members of the board have an independent streak. Of the nine cases on which the OB has ruled, it has overturned Facebook’s initial decision six times.”
Other members of the Oversight Board include former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman, Pakistani digital rights advocate Nighat Dad and American judge Mitch McConnell.
Endy says he was selected after a rigorous process, which included him cited his work with the IARJ since our founding in 2012 in Bellagio, Italy, a time during which Endy has served as both a gracious board member and effective executive director. In addition to a wide range of accomplishments, the IARJ has held nine conferences on five different continents.
The new Oversight Board website declares:
Social media platforms allow people around the world to connect. While this creates many opportunities to unite, it also allows us to see things that divide.
As outside experts and civic leaders, we embrace our responsibility to answer some of the most difficult questions around freedom of expression online: what to take down, what to leave up, and why.
While we come from different backgrounds and cultures and have different opinions and beliefs, this diversity lies at the core of this important endeavor. We are committed to making principled, independent decisions that are binding on Facebook about important pieces of content and by issuing advisory opinions on Facebook’s content policies.
One reason Endy was invited to serve on the board was his role with IARJ, the Oversight Board website explains:
He is the executive director of the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) which he helped found in 2012 and the recipient of several journalism fellowships, including the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 2003/2004 and the Jefferson Fellowship at Hawaii University in 1999. Bayuni serves on the board of several non-governmental organizations, including the Partnership for Governance Reform Indonesia, the Nature Conservancy Indonesia, and on the Institute for Policy Analysis and Conflict.
We wish Endy all the best in this important endeavour.