Position description

The International Press Institute (IPI) is seeking an enthusiastic, experienced Head of Advocacy to drive the organization’s global advocacy and campaign work in support of press freedom and independent journalism at a critical time.

The public’s right to information is coming under increased threat around the world. The Head of Advocacy will play a leading role in ensuring that the voice of the IPI global network strongly contributes to protecting the journalism we need. The person will think big about the challenges facing the free flow of news today and how IPI can address them.

The Head of Advocacy will shape IPI’s priority thematic and geographic advocacy goals and identify and implement strategies to achieve them. In doing so, the person will harness the power of IPI’s global network of editors, media executives, and leading journalists as a unique voice in the fight for press freedom. The Head of Advocacy will aim to ensure that IPI’s advocacy work has a strong practical impact and reaches the necessary audiences.

Duties and responsibilities include:

– Coordinating, in cooperation with IPI’s members, directors and other significant stakeholders, IPI’s overall advocacy work in the defence of press freedom and the promotion of independent journalism.
– Monitoring developments affecting press freedom and independent journalism at a global level and assessing and coordinating IPI’s short- and long-term responses.
– Coordinating IPI’s public advocacy work, including, but not limited to, the development of online and offline campaigns designed to reach and engage with a broad public audience as well as the organization of public events
– Managing advocacy components of ongoing and future IPI donor-funded projects, including by overseeing the work of project coordinators
– Conducting direct advocacy efforts with government and other official actors, including by organizing and participating in press freedom missions and official meetings carried out by IPI as well as in coordination with partner organizations
– Liaising with the members of IPI’s network to identify and respond to particular advocacy needs as these arise
– Managing IPI’s submissions to international human rights mechanisms
– Managing IPI’s Death Watch, which tracks the killings of journalists around the world, ensuring that the database is kept up-to-date and accurate
– Developing and implementing IPI’s activities with respect to key dates, including World Press Freedom Day (3 May) and the International Day to End Impunity (2 November), as well as advocacy tied into the annual IPI World Congress

In carrying out these tasks the Head of Advocacy will work closely together with IPI staff members coordinating the organization’s communications, events and membership work, as well as IPI’s project managers. The Head of Advocacy will be expected to work closely with IPI’s membership network and with its National Committees.

From time to time, the Head of Advocacy will also be expected to assist with tasks in other areas of IPI’s work that may benefit from the person’s particular skill set.


The Head of Advocacy:

– has proven familiarity with press freedom issues and a strong understanding of freedom of expression as a fundamental human right
– has very good knowledge of the journalistic profession and the challenges journalists face in doing their jobs across the world
– has a firm grasp on new and emerging threats to conducting journalism freely and safely, from digital censorship to the proliferation of surveillance technologies
– is able to think strategically about how to when and how to use the voice of the IPI global network to counter attacks on the press
– is a very strong communicator comfortable with developing and publicly presenting arguments in a convincing and professional manner, including in front of individuals hostile to press freedom
– is able to engage actively and enthusiastically with IPI’s various stakeholders, including members and partner organizations, in the pursuit of common goals
– has excellent oral and written communication skills in English; knowledge of other languages is considered an advantage
– is familiar with social media platforms and has proven experience using online channels to develop innovative and effective advocacy campaigns
– has general familiarity with principles of international human rights law related to freedom of expression
– is able to represent the IPI global network and pursue advocacy aims with confidence and professionalism in various fora, including at public speaking engagements and direct dialogue with government officials
– is familiar with the work and culture of non-governmental organizations and is comfortable working in a diverse, multinational environment
– has a successful track record of managing budgets, and is comfortable setting and meeting deadlines
– demonstrates a strong work ethic, is able to generate ideas, and proactively pursues goals
– is able to work independently and efficiently, making the most out of limited resources

Please note that this position is expected to involve regular travel.

Work experience and education

The Head of Advocacy should have at least five years of relevant professional experience. Journalistic experience and/or experience working for a related human rights organization on campaign and advocacy activities is highly valued and will be considered a clear advantage. The Head of Advocacy should hold a degree in journalism, politics, international relations, law or other related field. Additional qualifications are considered a plus.

Location and term

The location for this position is Vienna, Austria, at IPI’s headquarters. All nationalities are eligible to apply. A successful candidate who is not a citizen of the European Union/European Economic Area will be eligible for a work permit in Austria.

The start date for this position is 1 February 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter.


Salary will be determined based on experience and qualifications. Net (take-home) salaries are paid 14 times per year in accordance with Austrian employment law. IPI employees are able to benefit from Austria’s national health and other social insurance programmes. The salaries of IPI employees are not subject to income tax in Austria.

Holiday allowance is 25 days per year, in addition to Austrian national holidays.

About IPI

IPI is a global network of editors, journalists and media executives who share a common dedication to quality, independent journalism. Together, we promote the conditions that allow journalism to fulfil its public function, the most important of which is the media’s ability to operate free from interference and without fear of retaliation. Our mission is to defend media freedom and support independent journalism wherever they are threatened.

IPI was founded in 1950 by a group of 34 editors from 15 countries who believed in the power of the free flow of information to promote peace. The organization is based in Vienna with members in nearly 100 countries around the world.

Application procedure

If you meet the qualifications above, and wish to join IPI’s passionate team, please send a cover letter and CV to the email address [email protected] with the subject line “Head of Advocacy”. Please include the names and contact information of at least two references. Applications must be received by no later than 8 December 2021.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview, which can be conducted at IPI’s offices in Vienna, or virtually. Kindly note that IPI is unable to reimburse travel costs for those wishing to have an in-person interview in Vienna.