3rd Dec 2023

James Kanter, Shada Islam are new editors at EUobserver

  • James Kanter (right) was a correspondent for the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times in Paris and Brussels for 12 years, and founding editor of the EU Scream podcast on European politics. Shada Islam is a journalist and policy analyst
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EUobserver has recruited James Kanter to become its next chief editor, beginning on 1 February. Shada Islam will become the editor of the EUobserver magazine.

Kanter was a correspondent for the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times in Paris and Brussels for 12 years, and he is the founding editor of the EU Scream podcast on European politics.

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"I am very happy that James Kanter takes the lead as new editor-in-chief," said Lisbeth Kirk, who founded EUobserver more than two decades ago. "He will continue EUobserver's long tradition for independent and investigative EU-focused journalism.

"With Shada Islam joining him as magazine editor, EUobserver will become an even stronger and influential media on Europe," Kirk said.

Islam was a correspondent for more than 20 years with media outlets including The Far Eastern Economic Review, the BBC African Service and DPA, the German Press Agency. Her commentaries are published in several European and international newspapers, including EUobserver, the Guardian and East Asia Forum.

As a policy think tanker, she has been the director of Europe and geopolitics at Friends of Europe and now works independently as a commentator, advisor and analyst as head of her own company New Horizons Project.

EUobserver is a not-for-profit online newspaper established in Brussels in 2000. Its high journalistic standards and hard-hitting stories attract a readership that has doubled over the past two years. It supports its journalism through a monthly/yearly subscription.

Under new leadership, EUobserver will remain committed to free-thinking, plain speech and supporting European democracy with reporting and commentary that holds the EU establishment to account.

"I have long admired the independence and values that EUobserver and its team of experienced and focused reporters and editors bring to journalism in Europe," Kanter said. "At a time when the legitimacy of the EU is increasingly contested, those qualities couldn't be more important."

Kanter started his career in independent, non-profit journalism with The Cambodia Daily newspaper in Phnom Penh where he served as editor in chief during the mid-1990s.

Islam's appointments include a visiting professorship at the College of Europe in Natolin and a Solvay fellowship at Vrije University Brussel. She is also senior advisor at the European Policy Centre and other European think tanks and will continue to run New Horizons Project.

"As a truly independent and often fearless news outlet, EUobserver is a must-read for those looking for a diversity of views and who want more than repetitive mainstream commentary on the EU," said Islam.

Kanter will continue producing EU Scream podcast episodes in association with EUobserver and is developing an audio series with Islam that draws on her expertise in geopolitics, fighting racism, and promoting the rights of minorities in Europe.

Kanter and Islam take over from Koert Debeuf, who has served as EUobserver editor-in-chief since 2019.

An expert on the Middle East, Debeuf has broadened coverage In recent years EUobserver to focus on major regional issues.

Debeuf also successfully steered EUobserver through a flurry of attacks in the form of strategic litigation against public participation (aka SLAPPs) — lawsuits brought by powerful individuals and organisations to chill a free press and the work of civil society organisations.

"I am proud to have been the editor in chief of one of the only real independent newspapers in Brussels," said Debeuf. "This is the work of a small but most dedicated team of excellent journalists who are not afraid to speak truth to power."

An expert on the Middle East, Debeuf has written three books including Inside the Arab Revolution and Tribalisation. He recently completed his doctorate on the influence of Arab and Islamic philosophy on European thought.

"I am confident that with James and Shada this newspaper will only become better," said Debeuf.


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