USA: RSF appoints Dokhi Fassihian as new Executive Director

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) today announced the appointment of Dokhi Fassihian as the new Executive Director of RSF USA. Fassihian will lead the organization’s mission to protect and defend journalists working both internationally and in the United States and will oversee the operations of the Washington, DC and San Francisco bureaus of RSF.

Fassihian brings over fifteen years of experience in the field of human rights, managing multiple organizations over the span of her career, and overseeing extensive advocacy with the US government, European Union, and the United Nations. Most recently, Fassihian served as the Director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Freedom House where she was responsible for the organization’s regional portfolio, strategic direction, and fundraising. 


While at Freedom House, Fassihian oversaw programs that helped free journalists in conflict zones in Yemen, trained Iranian investigative journalists, and designed strategies to combat disinformation and online harassment targeted at Iranians. She led programs to mobilize Jordan’s private sector to champion women’s economic empowerment, advocated against torture in Bahrain, and pressed for an independent investigation into the Khashoggi murder.


“At a time when press freedom is under serious attack in the United States, Dokhi Fassihian’s appointment as the Executive Director of RSF USA is more than welcome news,” said RSF’s Secretary General Christophe Deloire. “Dokhi has had enormous success throughout her career in defending fundamental human rights around the world. We have no doubt that in her new role, Dokhi will enable the US team to continue its critical work towards defending press freedom with an agile and innovative approach.”


Fassihian has facilitated the work of civil society coalitions on a broad range of human rights situations and has led successful international campaigns at the UN Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly. Before joining Freedom House, Fassihian led the Democracy Coalition Project, where she monitored the state of democracy and human rights around the world and tracked the foreign policies of governments on international human rights priorities. Fassihian led successful strategies to strengthen US support for multilateral human rights promotion through national and international coalition-building, strategic advocacy, and policy analysis. Her campaigns have led to the appointment of a special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, and the defeat of human rights-abusing candidates to the UN Human Rights Council, including Sri Lanka and Belarus. She has also worked on elections, civil rights in the post 9/11 period, and US national security. 


Dokhi is the perfect choice for this role,” said RSF’s Board Chair Maryam Banikarim. “She is a great leader, has extensive experience in the field of human rights and most importantly she is incredibly passionate and committed to the fight for a free press. We couldn’t be more excited to have her join us to take this organization to the next level.”


RSF USA raises awareness, monitors, and takes action to prevent press freedom violations in the United States, Canada, and the English-speaking Caribbean. To achieve this, the organization mobilizes its partners, advocates with the US government and the United Nations, and galvanizes the support of the American people by conducting public campaigns to preserve freedom of the press. 


"It's a privilege to be joining Reporters Without Borders at this critical time in history when press freedom is under unprecedented assault around the world, including in the United States,” Dokhi Fassihian said. “I am honored to be working alongside some of the world's most passionate advocates defending our right to access the truth and protect democracy. Our mandate is clear. We will work vigorously to defend press freedom at every step and we will work tirelessly to ensure that journalists are able to carry out their work safely."


Fassihian replaces Interim Executive Director Sabine Dolan, who will resume her role as the Director of the RSF Journalism and Technology office in San Francisco. 

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Updated on 05.08.2019