Lawyer and human rights advocate Mariam Veiszadeh has been appointed the inaugural chief executive officer of non-profit organisation Media Diversity Australia.
Media Diversity Australia was established in 2017 to challenge Australia’s media companies to address the stark lack of diversity in newsrooms.
Veiszadeh has been appointed to the CEO role after serving as an executive director at the Diversity Council Australia. She is the founder and president of the Islamophobia Register, a former board member of Our Watch and a regular media commentator.
“It is such an honour to be joining the MDA team,” Veiszadeh said in a statement on Friday.
“I have witnessed MDA grow and have incredible impact in a short period of time. I look forward to working with Antoinette, Isabel and their fellow MDA board members in building on MDA’s impressive list of achievements.”
Veiszadeh says media diversity is a cause “very close to my heart”.
“I feel privileged to be able to continue advocating for change in this space,” she said.
Media Diversity Australia was founded by journalists Antoinette Lattouf and Isabel Lo in 2017, who will remain non-executive board directors at the organisation.
“We couldn’t be more excited about bringing Mariam onboard to steer the ship,” Lattouf said.
“She is an absolute powerhouse, a dynamic leader who has long been an ally. Mariam has some fantastic ideas about how to make what started as a side hustle for Isabel and I, an even greater force for change to be reckoned with.
In 2020, Media Diversity Australia released a ground-breaking report called Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories, that highlighted just how homogenous Australia’s media landscape is. The research found that every national news director in Australia was a white man and 96.9 per cent of those in senior management roles either had an Anglo-Celtic or European background.
Moreover, the report highlighted that 75 per cent of presenters, commentators and reports in news and current affairs broadcasts had an Anglo-Celtic background. Only 6 per cent had Indigenous or non-European backgrounds.
Sharing the news on LinkedIn, Veiszadeh wrote: “As a leader I never quite fit the norm – I’ve been told I’m too nice, too young & much, much more! I look forward to role modeling inclusive leadership from the top and continuing my advocacy for a media landscape that looks and sounds more like Australia!”
Photo credit: Sammer Affridi Hero Shot Photography/mariamveiszadeh.com