Banikarim is known as a dedicated press freedom advocate and a fearless force for change with a distinguished career that has included executive roles at Hyatt, Gannett, NBCUniversal and Univision. Banikarim succeeds Peter Price, who retires from the post after more than a decade of service to become Chairman Emeritus of the advisory board.
“Peter Price has shown such a commitment and generosity to develop the influence of Reporters Without Borders, also known as Reporters sans frontières (RSF), in the US and beyond,” said RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire. “He deserves our utmost gratitude for his leadership in the US and for his global support to our international activities. We are so glad to know that Peter will continue to support us and are optimistic for RSF’s future in the US under Maryam’s leadership.”
“I am deeply honored to take on this role at this pivotal time–a time when press freedom is under attack both in the United States and abroad,” said Banikarim. “Freedom of information is a basic human right. It has been a privilege to serve on RSF USA’s advisory board. Peter leaves big shoes to fill, but I am confident that with our amazing board and tireless team we will continue to expand RSF’s impact in the United States and North America.”
“I am proud of the work RSF USA accomplished during my tenure as board chair,” said Peter Price, media investor and outgoing chairman of RSF USA. “The organization has grown not only financially and geographically, but in its impact. Over the last year alone, RSF USA has led and participated in campaigns that directly address violations of press freedom in this country, the needs of journalists in this changing climate, and efforts to release journalists detained abroad, such as American journalist Austin Tice. Maryam’s commitment to press freedom and her record of accomplishments along with her creativity, passion, and drive makes her the ideal choice to ensure the continued success of RSF USA.”
Banikarim is becoming the board chair at a pivotal time for RSF USA. With the dramatic impact of new technologies on journalism, RSF USA opened a second office in San Francisco in July 2018 to establish partnerships and opportunities for advocacy in and around Silicon Valley. The organization’s DC bureau continued to grow, fostering partnerships with like-minded organizations through projects such as the #DefendPressFreedom midterm election campaign, the US Press Freedom Tracker, and the Border Stops Project.
Reporters Without Borders opened its first US office in New York City in 2004 with the objective to extend the organization’s international mission in the United States. In 2005, the bureau moved its work to Washington, DC, to strengthen the effectiveness of its advocacy, and quickly won a solid reputation in DC as an outspoken defender of freedom of information. Based in Paris, RSF has bureaux and sections in 13 cities worldwide and a network of correspondents in 130 countries. RSF has consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the International Organization of the Francophonie.
Members of RSF USA’s board include Christophe Deloire, RSF’s Secretary-General and Delphine Halgand, Executive Director of the Signals Network and RSF’s former North America Director, who together comprise the legal board, as well as advisory board members Barbara Taylor Bradford O.B.E., Elizabeth Colton, Jeff Glor, Jim Hoagland, Brad Jakeman, John MacArthur, William McCarren, Michael R. Meyer, Norman Pearlstine, Ellen Ratner, Seth Redniss, Marty Schenker, James Schwab, Guy Sorman, Brian Storm, Roxanne Taylor, and Thor Valdmanis.