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Foundation announces appointments

The Guardian Foundation has announced the appointment of two trustees to its board, effective immediately.

Foundation announces appointments
Left: Tom Laing-Baker; Right: Raquel Vazquez Llorente.

Speaking of the appointments, The Guardian Foundation says Tom Laing-Baker has spent over 20 years advising corporations and individuals across both the corporate and public sector. Previously a private secretary to Queen Elizabeth II and director at KPMG, he currently sits on the leadership team of a fintech company, the board of LAMDA, and runs his own advisory firm. Alongside his professional experience, he has a Masters in International Relations and Cyber Security, specialising in how state and non-state actors use technology to produce and distribute ‘fake news’ to impact democracy and a free press.

Raquel Vazquez Llorente is a lawyer specialising in international human rights law and technology policy, with a focus on audio-visual evidence in conflict and human rights crises. She’s an associate director at WITNESS, where she leads a team that critically examines the impact of emerging technologies, especially generative AI, on our trust in audio-visual media. Prior to WITNESS, Raquel was the permanent representative to the International Criminal Court for International Federation for Human Rights. Raquel has extensive experience advising technology companies and non-profits on legal, operational and policy matters.

Commenting on the appointment, Keith Magee, chair, The Guardian Foundation, said: “At a time when much of the world is grappling with threats to free speech, The Guardian Foundation, supported by our board, continues to be a beacon for voice and agency. To further advance our work, we are elated to welcome Tom Laing-Baker and Raquel Vazquez Llorente. Tom’s eclectic, vast knowledge of different sectors, along with his work on the impact of disinformation on democracy, will be of great benefit as we expand our news and media literacy education efforts. Raquel’s legal acumen and her expertise in ground breaking technological innovation will provide an invaluable perspective as generative AI and other technologies become an integral part of the conversation on the role of the media in a just and democratic society. Together, Tom and Raquel will enhance our board’s commitment to press freedom and access to journalism.”

Commenting on his appointment, Tom Laing-Baker, said: “The erosion of press freedoms, the proliferation mis- and disinformation, and the significant risks associated with AI have all highlighted the prescience of The Guardian Foundation and the criticality of its work. I am delighted to join the board and work with esteemed colleagues to help ensure people around the world have greater access to reliable information, from a diverse range of sources, and the ability to hold power to account.”

Commenting on her appointment, Raquel Vazquez Llorente, said: “The Foundation’s mission to ensure access to trustworthy journalism and its efforts to foster media literacy are crucial to enabling every individual’s full participation in the democratic process. Press freedom is critical to maintaining a well-informed public and keeping those in power accountable. I am delighted to join The Guardian Foundation in their efforts towards ensuring the integrity and reliability of information in times of rapid technological change.”

The Guardian Foundation says Tom and Raquel’s appointment comes as an academic study on its NewsWise programme revealed, for the first time, strong correlations between news literacy and civic engagement amongst 9-11 year olds in the UK.

Tom and Raquel will join existing board members Nina Blackwell, Keith Magee (Chair), Mélody Patry, Randeep Ramesh, Russell Scott and Gary Younge.

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