The Board


Neena Bhandari [President]: I started my career with The Times of India in 1985 and I have since worked in India, the United Kingdom and Australia. I arrived in Australia during the 2000 Sydney Olympics as the Press Trust of India [India’s largest news agency] correspondent for Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. I am the Australia correspondent for headquartered in London,  Inter Press Service and International Press Syndicate. I also contribute regularly to various media outlets in Europe, India and Australia. I have been a FCA member for 16 years and I have served on the FCA Board as the Executive Board Member, Honorary Secretary and Vice-President. I edited the FCA newsletter, The Correspondent, and then helped to launch the FCA website and worked as the Online Editor.

Esther Blank [Vice-President]: I have been a journalist for over 30 years, working in Germany, Europe, the Middle East, USA, Australia and the South Pacific. I started work at Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster. I came to Australia and worked as a reporter and acting chief of staff for SBS TV, as well as reporting for Germany. In 2000 I was a researcher, producer and reporter for Germany’s Sydney Olympic TV coverage. Since then I have been DW’s representative and reporter in Australia and the region. I have been a member of the FCA for over 26 years, serving as President, Vice-President and Board member.

Hiroki Iijima [Honorary Secretary]: I regularly report for TBS [Tokyo Broadcasting System Television] national news bulletin and news program `Newsbird’. I write a regular column for the largest Japanese language monthly magazine in Australia, `Nichigo Press’. I was the representative for the TBS Sydney Olympic Bureau (1998 – 2000). In Japan, I have worked as director of news programmes on TV Asahi.

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Bang Sao Thi Do [Treasurer]: I have been working for the Vietnam News Agency since 2011. I arrived in Australia in 2015 as the Australia correspondent for Vietnam News Agency based in the Sydney Office.

Kristen Gelineau [Executive Board Member]: I am The Associated Press Chief of Bureau for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, based in Sydney. I joined the AP in 2002 in Seattle, and spent the next six years reporting on politics, crime and natural disasters in various U.S. bureaus, covering everything from Hurricane Katrina to executions to the Virginia Tech massacre. In 2008, I became a correspondent for AP in Sydney and was promoted to Chief of Bureau in 2012.

Andrew Thomas [Executive Board Member]: I am the Al Jazeera correspondent for Australia, NZ and the Pacific. After 11 years based in native London, I moved to Sydney with my Australian wife tasked with bringing all things Antipodean to Al Jazeera English. Since December 2010, I have covered a long line of natural disasters and the very human responses to each: the Christmas Island asylum boat sinking, the floods in Queensland and Victoria, the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the triple-whammy of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan.

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Rocío Otoya [Executive Board Member] : I have been a journalist for over 20 years, working in Peru, Japan and Australia. I started as an assistant producer for America TV in Peru. In Australia, I have worked for SBS Spanish Radio since 1997 as a broadcaster, journalist and radio producer. I have worked as a correspondent for Agencia Efe (Spain’s International News Agency) in Australia, Peru and Japan since 2000.  I have covered natural disasters like the 2007 Peruvian earthquake, terrorist attacks during the Peruvian conflict, indigenous protests in the Peruvian Amazonian region, summits like APEC and the COP19, and the trial of former president Alberto Fujimori.

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Rob Taylor [Executive Board Member]: I cover political and general news, as well as economics, in Australia and the Pacific for the Wall Street Journal based in Australia’s Parliament in Canberra, I have been a journalist for more than 20 years and I have reported from Afghanistan, South Africa, Myanmar, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. I was previously chief correspondent in Kabul with Reuters and Jakarta bureau chief for Australia’s local agency AAP. I have covered conflict, elections, earthquakes and tsunamis on three continents. I began my career as a news photographer in Africa.