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Bill Porter

Publisher and founder of the International Communications Forum.

Bill Porter (1920-2009) was a British journalist, publisher and media ethics campaigner who founded the media ethics think-tank the International Communications Forum in 1990. ICF gained an international reputation after publishing the Sarajevo Commitment, a statement of best practice for media professionals issued at a forum in the Bosnian capital in 2000. He had founded the British arm of the Dutch legal publishing multinational Kluwer in 1970, becoming the Managing Director of Kluwer Publishing. He was appointed the Deputy Chairman of Kluwer UK in 1984. He had worked for a while with Moral Re-Armament after World War II, but broke with it over a disagreement about aims and tactics. But he admitted that he found MRA's emphasis on sexual morality "very restrictive and I was looking forward to my freedom in that respect". MRA's leader Peter Howard told Porter: "You are meant to be a mighty tree, under whose branches many people can find shelter and purpose." It took 35 years for Howard's vision for Porter to be realised through the ICF. 

Porter had met his Yugoslav wife, Sonja Aleksis, when he was a freelance journalist in Tito's Yugoslavia. They were married in 1962. He was aware that the communications industry in all its manifestations was the largest in the world. But, he reflected, was it the most responsible? "if you are thinking that way, why don't you do something about it?" Sonja urged him. This gave him the impetus to launch the ICF. Do something about it (2005) became the title of his autobiography.

He described himself, in his journey towards a faith, as a "lapsed agnostic". Reflecting on the ICF, he said, "When I decided to take this road, I experienced a sense of inner compulsion that has never left me. Where does it come from, if not from some superior guiding force in the universe?" He died at his home in Le Touquet, France, on 1st April 2009. 

United Kingdom
Primary country of residence