Our Team

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Jonathan Heawood

Executive Director

Jonathan began his career as a journalist at the Observer and went on to spend seven years as Director of English PEN, where he campaigned successfully for free speech and media freedom. He served as Director of Programmes at the Sigrid Rausing Trust, one of Europe’s largest human rights foundations, where he developed a new strategy to support investigative journalism. In 2015, Jonathan founded the independent press regulator IMPRESS (The Independent Monitor for the Press). He led IMPRESS as CEO until March 2020.


Jonathan has written for newspapers and magazines including the Telegraph, Independent, Guardian, London Review of Books, Prospect and New Statesman, and journals including Critical Quarterly, Ethical Space, Journal of Media Law, Communications Law, Information Polity and the British Journalism Review. He has also given evidence to several Parliamentary select committees and is regularly invited to speak at conferences in the UK and internationally.


He is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, a Leadership Fellow at St George’s House, Windsor, a Committee Member at the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, and Chair of the Stephen Spender Trust. His book, The Press Freedom Myth, was published by Biteback in 2019.

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Joe Mitchell

Programmes Manager

Joe Mitchell co-founded and co-directed Democracy Club from 2016-2020. Previously, he gained experience in comms and advocacy with Purpose PBC, the UK Civil Service and Commonwealth Secretariat, and has experience with NGOs such as Transparency International and Global Witness. He has degrees from UWaterloo, SOAS and Oxford.