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MOM Team


Syed Nazakat is an award-winning Indian journalist, media entrepreneur, founder and Editor-In-Chief of DataLEADS, a data-driven Indian initiative aimed to create new platforms of storytelling and research. He leads DataLEADS in New Delhi, as well as overseeing its outreach across Asia with different partners including with Asia News Network (Thailand), a network of 22 leading Asian daily newspapers in 20 Asian countries. He has worked in senior positions at different media organisations and has over 18 years of experience as broadcast, print and online journalist. He is also editor-in-chief of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit organization he founded to promote the cause of watchdog journalism in India. He represents Asia Pacific Region at Global Investigative Journalism Network, leading the GIJN’s mandate and training and capacity building initiatives across Asia. He holds B.Sc degree from India and Master’s degree in Journalism from the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines.

VARADARAJAN ANANTHAKRISHNAN, Content Head and Senior Researcher

Varadarajan Ananthakrishnan is working as a Content Head and Senior researcher at DataLeads (MOM, India).  A Science Graduate, he has mostly worked with television channels in the news and current affairs space in his 28-year long career. 

SHIVALEE KAUSHIK, Senior Researcher

Shivalee Kaushik is the project manager at DataLEADS. She has wide experience in the field of research and marketing consulting projects and has been actively involved in guiding nationwide researches under her leadership. She has previously worked as Senior Consultant, Ministry of Corporate Affairs.  Prior to this, she was the research head at World Consulting and Research Corporation. She holds bachelor’s degree in Botany (H) and has completed her Master’s in Business Administration.

RAJU SANTHANAM, Editorial lead 

Raju Santhanam has over forty years of experience in journalism. He has held key positions in both print and television. He was executive editor of The Statesman for a number of years he headed The Statesman’s investigative team – Insight, which researched the misdeeds and abuse of law involving the high and the mighty. Later, he joined Zee News, a well-known Hindi channel where he was the head of News. He was also actively involved in research based projects of an international Delhi based channel WION which was particularly dealing with archival records which have a historical value.


Shibendu Bhattacharjee is working as a Senior Researcher for DataLEADS (MOM), India. He graduated from Assam University with bachelors and master's degrees in social work. He has worked extensively with children at risk of substance abuse and has eight years of experience in research, data analysis and project management. He is also the recipient of Fulbright Hubert H.Humphrey Fellowship Program. 

SAHIL BALI, Researcher

Sahil Bali is currently working as a Researcher for DataLEADS. He has a master’s degree in social work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and has experience in project management and implementation. Hailing from the developmental sector, he has previously been associated with various developmental projects, NGO interventions, and their implementation. Sahil has been exposed to societal nitty-gritty’s through development driven projects and has developed a special interest and inquisitiveness for social media and its societal impact.

NAFISA HASANOVA, Project Manager

Nafisa Hasanova is the project manager of MOM India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, she has previously managed MOM Ukraine (2016), MOM Serbia (2017) and MOM Albania (2018) for RSF. Before joining RSF Nafisa worked on Transdniestrian settlement process for the Finnish Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) Martti Ahtisaari Centre. From 2012 to 2014 she worked as policy officer for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia at APRODEV, now ACT Alliance EU in Brussels. In 2008-2012 Nafisa worked as project manager of EUCAM (EU Central Asia Monitoring) at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS and FRIDE) in Brussels. Nafisa, holds an MA in Intercultural Communication and European Studies from the University of Applied Studies in Fulda, Germany. She completed a BA in English Philology at the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages in Uzbekistan.

JOSEFINE SPANNUTH, Junior Project Manager

Josefine Spannuth is a junior project manager currently working for the Media Ownership Monitor in India. Before, she supported the Implementation of MOM in the Philippines as an intern. First experiences in terms of intercultural project oriented work which she made during her time at the Hope Project New-Delhi/India, shaped her studies afterwards. Studying cultural studies and digital media with a focus on postcolonial matters as well as a special curiosity for Asia, generated a major interest in the interface of sustainable development cooperation and the complex influences of media.

OLAF STEENFADT, Head of Media Ownership Monitor

Olaf Steenfadt heads the "Media Ownership Monitor" project and the "Journalism Trust Initiative" at the press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, RSF. For many years, he has been engaged as a consultant and coach in media development cooperation. Mandates of international organizations and NGOs lead him primarily to Southeast Europe and the Arab world. He previously worked for national German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF in various roles, including as a radio and TV presenter, investigative reporter, domestic and foreign correspondent, as well as in format development and corporate communication. Olaf is a member of the "High-level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation" of the European Commission and of the "Committee of Experts on Quality of Journalism in the Digital Age" at the Council of Europe. He teaches frequently at universities in Germany and Europe.

SHAZIA SALAM, Researcher

Shazia Salam works as a researcher with DataLeads. She also teaches at the Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia.  Salam completed her Master's in English literature and holds a Ph.D from Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her research interests dwell within that of Partition literature, Gender and Islam, Minority lives, and Literary Criticism. Currently, at DataLeads, she supports and manages a series of projects including a major project on minorities and their status in India.


Surbhi Pandit Nangia heads the outreach and partnership team at DataLEADS. She has over 18 years of experience in media with an expertise in marketing and sales. Surbhi has worked as marketing head of Media Plus Publishing (HK) and has led marketing team at The Sunday Indian. She has been in the leadership positions at India's major media companies and has built great rapport over the years. She was a country representative of Business Week, India. She holds an undergrad degree in Commerce and Master's in business administration. 


Nabeela Khan Inayati is an assistant editor at DataLEADS. She has been enthusiastically working on data-driven reporting with a focus on public health. In 2017, she was awarded the International Health Media fellowship by the Australian government. Her former stints include working with The Caravan magazine and Centre for Media Governance where her work extensively was related to "Mapping Media Diversity" in India. She graduated from Mass Communication Research Centre with a degree in Convergent Journalism and was a part of the project which bagged the British Medical Journal award for promoting transparency and integrity in healthcare. 

NADEEM AKHTAR, Team Assistant

Nadeem Akhtar is a Team assistant at dataLEADS for the Media Ownership Monitor Project, India. He has over three years of experience as a data researcher. Over the years, he has worked on various data-driven projects where he was actively involved with research on developmental projects and data collection. He has a bachelor’s degree in Botany (H) and has completed his Master’s in Biotechnology from Bangalore University. 

NISHA BHAMBHANI, Legal Adviser  

Nisha Bhambhani is an Advocate in full time practice in New Delhi, India since 1994. She has over the last more than two decades followed the evolving media law and regulatory landscape in India. Her practice includes advising media clients and managing their litigation in civil and criminal courts in the Supreme Court, the Delhi High Court as also before specialised tribunals viz. the Telecom Disputes Settlement, Appellate Tribunal and the Press Council of India. She has a Bachelor’s Degree (H) in History from Jesus & Mary College and a Law Degree from the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. Nisha’s interest in media law spans not just the statutory landscape but also the social and cultural aspects of India news media. Nisha has also been involved with litigation relating to the free speech right of media, which has in recent times been under constant threat.


DATALEADS is a pioneering multiplatform Indian digital media company aimed to build data-driven storytelling and support media research, watchdog journalism and media innovations through series of reporting, training and media development initiatives. It is registered as a private limited media company with the government of India and is headquartered in New Delhi. Backed by some of India’s best computer-assisted data specialists, journalists, public records experts and economists, our team conducts data-driven reporting, research and unique collaborative boot camps across Asia. Our initiative to build collaboration with doctors and public data researchers was awarded with the prestigious British Medical Journal Award in 2016, an equivalent to the Oscar’s of medicine.  We work closely with a number of organisations to support free and independent journalism in Asia. We work with Google News Initiative as a partner in India to train Indian editors and reporters in one of the biggest fact-checking training initiatives in the word to fight the tide of disinformation and fake news. We combine years of editing and reporting experience, data skills and deep expertise in the Asian market, to provide editorial support and consultancy including to Asia News Network (Thailand) which is a network of 22 leading Asian daily newspapers in 20 Asian countries, with a combined readership of more than 50 million. OW DATALEADS also runs Centre for Investigative Journalism (India) which is India’s first watchdog journalism organisation dedicated to support and strengthen investigative journalism in India.

Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders (Reporter Sans Frontières, RSF) was founded in Montpellier (France) in 1985 by four journalists. It is registered in France as a non-profit organization and has consultant status at the United Nations and UNESCO. RSF advocates for media freedom, supports independent media and protects endangered journalists worldwide. Its missions are

  • To continuously monitor attacks on freedom of information worldwide;
  • To denounce any such attacks in the media;
  • To act in cooperation with governments to fight censorship and laws aimed at restricting freedom of information;
  • To morally and financially assist persecuted journalists, as well as their families.
  • To offer material assistance to war correspondents in order to enhance their safety.

Since 1994, the German section is active in Berlin. Although the German section works closely with the International Secretariat in Paris to research and evaluate media freedom worldwide, it is organizationally and financially independent. In that role, it has applied for a grant at the federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – in order to finance the Media Ownership Monitor project.

Global Media Registry

The Global Media Registry (GMR) collects, compiles and provides – either publicly available or self-reported – datasets and contextual information on media outlets around the world.

In doing so, the objective is to enhance transparency, accountability and responsibility in the information space. Thus, the GMR facilitates better choices and decision making, both algorithmic and human, of all stakeholders. These may include every citizen and consumer, regulators and donors, as well as the private sector – for example advertisers and intermediaries (a. k. a. platforms and distributors).

By providing this public service as a social enterprise, the Global Media Registry contributes to the advancement of the freedoms of information and expression at large.

It was founded as a spin-off from the Media Ownership Monitor project, which it now operates as a non-for-profit LLC registered under German law.

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