The Coalition Against Online Violence Leadership

Advisory Committee

Ana Velasquez

Ana is a Program and Communications Associate at Right to Be (former Hollaback!), an organization working to end harassment in all its forms. She oversees the anti-online harassment platform HeartMob, where people experiencing online harassment can receive support from a community of vetted bystanders. Ana is also a journalist and communications specialist and worked as a tech journalist at EL TIEMPO, Colombia’s top newspaper, where she mainly produced educational content on cybersecurity, digital safety, and online privacy. She received the ESET Computer Security Journalism Award for a multimedia piece on the risks of going on the Dark Web and was recognized with an honorable mention from ElTiempo Excellence in Journalism Awards for a report on cyberstalking and revenge porn. She holds a master’s degree in Media Studies with Social Justice emphasis from Queens College, City University of New York. Her master’s research project explored how female journalists experiencing online harassment understand and make sense of this issue by examining the experiences of three women as case studies.

Lucy Westcott

Lucy Westcott became director of CPJ’s Emergencies Department in October 2021. She oversees CPJ’s assistance and safety work worldwide. Westcott joined CPJ in 2018 as the James W. FoleyFellow. During her fellowship, she focused on safety issues for women journalists in non-hostile environments and assisted with the creation of safety resources for journalists globally. Prior to joining CPJ, Westcott was a staff writer for Newsweek, where she covered gender and immigration. She has reported for outlets including The Intercept, Bustle, The Atlantic, and Women Under Siege, and was a United Nations correspondent for the Inter Press Service. She has reported from Egypt, Jordan, Cameroon, South Africa, Lesotho, Qatar, and the U.S. She has a master’s in multi-platform journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor’s degree from theUniversity of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

Simon Petitjean

Simon Petitjean is a trans man, Franco-British, holds a BSc in Economics and International Development from Bath University and a MPhil in International Relations from Oxford University, and has 10+ years of experience in international policy (working at the European Commission, UNESCO and OECD) and human rights work (in South East Asia, Southernand East Africa, notably working in NGOs and for local political representatives). He has worked for Cambodian politician, Mu Sochua, a strong women’s rights advocate in the country and the region. He has also served on multiple boards including SOS homophobia, the leading French LGBTI NGO, as Treasurer. He has also worked for UNESCO on the first ever UN report tackling homophobic discrimination in the education sector. For the past 5 years, he has worked for the South African NGO, GIN-SSOGIE, leading their strategic engagement at the UN on matters of religion, gender and sexuality. He, his fiancée and their dog now live in Geneva by the beautiful Alps.

Advisory & Newsrooms Advocacy

Viktorya Vilk

Viktorya Vilk (she/her/hers) is the director for digital safety and free expression at PENAmerica. She created and runs the organization’s Online Abuse Defense Program, which equips writers and journalists with self-defense training and resources, partners with media organizations and publishers to strengthen protections for writers and journalists, and conducts research and advocacy on platform accountability. Her work has been featured on PBS Newshour, The New York Times, Slate, and Harvard Business Review, and she regularly speaks on digital safety and press freedom, including for the Online News Association, RightsCon, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Journalism and Women’s Symposium, and Moz Fest, among others. She completed graduate degrees, as a Marshall Scholar, at theUniversity of London, and has over a decade of experience working in nonprofits to expand access to the arts and defend creative and press freedom

Newsrooms Advocacy

Elisabet Cantenys – Co-lead

Elisabet Cantenys is the Executive Director at the ACOS Alliance, an unprecedented global coalition of news organizations, freelance journalist associations and press freedom NGOs working together to champion safe and responsible journalistic practices. She has led the Alliance since 2016, managing a rich programme of activities focused on creating a culture of safety across newsrooms and among freelance and local journalists worldwide. Cantenys is former Head of Programmes at the Rory Peck Trust, in London. She joined the Trust in 2004 as a researcher and rose to the role of Head of Programmes in 2010, overseeing, managing and implementing more than a dozen journalist safety projects worldwide. Cantenys has worked as a freelance documentary producer, radio journalist and writer in New York, London and Barcelona. She is a regular speaker at press freedom conferences and events. She has a master’s degree in global politics from the University of London and is a visiting lecturer at Blanquerna University in Barcelona.

Advisory & Platforms Advocacy

Shireen Mitchell

Shireen Mitchell is an award-winning social entrepreneur, and founder, senior digital strategist, and data scientist at Stop Online Violence Against Women Inc. (SOVAW) — a leading research organization based in Washington, DC (and parent to the Stop Digital Voter Suppression TMProject). Mitchell’s research involves cross-collaboration with activists, data scientists, civil rights organizations, and legislators to create a safer, more inclusive internet culture. A member of the independent Real Facebook Oversight Board, Mitchell also founded Digital Sisters/as—the first organization to focus on women and girls of color in technology and digital media. Mitchell continues to work at the forefront of addressing the role that technology companies play in discrimination and abuse of women and girls of color. Further driving this mission, she co-founded Human First Tech— a project cultivating technologies that cater to the needs of the community. She can be reached @digitalsista on Twitter or anywhere on social media.

Research & Knowledge Sharing

Nabeelah Shabbir

Nabeelah Shabbirisa is a British-Pakistani freelance journalist based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She is a Senior Research Associate at the International Center for Journalists, where she works on projects relating to online violence against women journalists, and the state of journalism during the pandemic. At The Guardian in London, she shared a British Journalism Prize with the ‘Keep it in the Ground’ team in 2015. In 2008, she was ‘European Journalist of the Year, UK’ for her reporting from Kosovo. She has co-authored a series of reports on transatlantic digital-born media; on innovation in media in the Global South; and on the impact of the Panama Papers, for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford. She has also worked at The Correspondent, the Financial Times, and Twitter, amongst others, and from Brussels and Paris.

Legal/Regulations Advocacy

Flora Schulte Nordholt

Flora works at Free Press Unlimited in the Policy & Advocacy Team, where she focuses on issues relating to the online harassment of (women) journalists and legal and digital threats to journalists. She is a lawyer by background and started off her career as a lawyer at DLA Piper focusing on privacy and IT. Prior to joining Free Press Unlimited, Flora worked for Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Embassy in Beijing, where she focused on political and digital developments in China. She holds a Masters Degree in Law from the University of Amsterdam and the Free University in Amsterdam, where she specialized in ICT, Internet and PrivacyLaw. Flora is Dutch by nationality but has lived in the US and China for most of her life. Currently she is based in Amsterdam.

CAOV Founding Organization

Juanita Islas – IWMF Representative

As the Director of Programs, Juanita Islas oversees the IWMF’s global fellowships, grant-making initiatives, safety training, and emergency funds. She also facilitates the work of the Coalition Against Online Violence, a collection of global organizations collaborating to find better solutions for journalists facing digital attacks. Juanita joined the IWMF in 2015 to launch their $5 million multi-year reporting initiative in Latin America, where she worked with international and local journalists in Colombia, Mexico, and the Northern Triangle. In the past 6 years, she has led the design and implementation of numerous programs, totaling over $9 million; including, the Gwen Ifill Mentorship Program for women and nonbinary journalists from underrepresented backgrounds and the COVID-19 Journalism Relief Fund in 2020