Speaking Engagements

I speak publicly frequently both in India and internationally, on issues of public importance, whether giving talks, panel discussions, TV Shows or podcasts. I also do private talks and briefings, sharing both my experience and my views. Contact me at nikhil at medianama dot com.


Artificial Intelligence Regulation • Content Regulation • Censorship • Competition Regulation • Copyright • Cybersecurity Regulation • Drones • Decentralisation • Digital Identity and Aadhaar • Ecommerce • Facial Recognition • Gig Economy • Digital Payments • Free Speech • Internet Access and Telecom • Internet Fragmentation • Internet Shutdowns • Net Neutrality • Platform Accountability • Privacy and Data Protection • Safe Harbor • Surveillance


1. Shoham Arad, Director, TED Fellowship Program:

“With great confidence I can recommend Nikhil Pahwa as a thoughtful and compelling public speaker. His remarkable work creating and leading SaveTheInternet, now the Internet Freedom Foundation, which fights key battles for online civil liberties in India, would make him a valuable addition to any speaker program.

In 2015, the TED Fellows program selected Nikhil from thousands of applicants to join us at the TED Conference as one of twenty TED Fellows. Despite being unwell during the conference, he passionately spoke to the TED2016 audience about the success of his SaveTheInternet campaign in India, during which he took on powerful vested interests, including Facebook, and won. He shared his battle for an open Internet and his philosophy of One Internet to a standing ovation, and addressed questions with clarity and passion.

We are proud to count Nikhil as a TED Fellow. I would certainly recommend him as a speaker on open Internet issues, especially in the context of a growing Internet in India.”

2. Vishal Misra, Professor, Dept. of Computer Science, Columbia University; Fellow, IEEE:

“Activist doesn’t even begin to describe Nikhil, but that’s what the world knows him as. I have known him for years now as a serious journalist who doesn’t rest until he gets every detail right and he has carried the same work ethic in his activism and public campaigns. A few months ago I invited him to give a talk at Columbia on SaveTheInternet and the Net Neutrality movement, and he kept the audience in rapt attention with an engaging talk that told the story that everyone seemed to know, and yet he brought out unknown angles. His humility (and sense of humor) while talking about the effort where he was very clearly the leader and public face but described himself as an ordinary volunteer endeared him to the audience instantly and every person who attended the talk later came and thanked me for inviting him”

3. Paras Chopra, Founder, Wingify:

“I have known Nikhil for many years and he’s been an inspiration. He’s a free thinker, an honest person and is actively interested in finding ways to make the world a better place. Since I’m a strong adherent of free speech myself, I have been following Nikhil and the group he assembled to fight the Net Neutrality battle. What the small but nimble group achieved was magnificent – they had a major contribution in making sure Facebook’s attempt at violating net neutrality in India was successfully thwarted.

At Wingify, for our celebrations for a company milestone, we decided to invite Nikhil to speak on two aspects that we relate to most: bootstrapping and achieving a lot with limited resources. Nikhil spoke at length about how the entire movement to fight for net neutrality came about and the audience (which consisted of Wingify employees) loved it. Nikhil brings a very unique perspective in this world – combining his knowledge of digital with his ethics shaped from the world of journalism. After the talk, there was a good QnA session where Nikhil was able to relate fight for net neutrality to fight that startups have to go through when they have to scale with limited resources.

All in all, I highly recommend Nikhil as a speaker, especially in events that pertain to anything digital, journalism, free speech or how to build and sustain movements.”

4. Kashish Gupta, former Anchor at NDTV “Nikhil Pahwa appeared on The Social Network frequently during its 15-month run. It’s a show that looked at news headlines in the online world with a special focus on social media policy and I was the anchor/editor.

We first invited Nikhil to speak on free speech – but his knowledge of the Internet ecosystem went far beyond and was extremely comprehensive. He became a regular speaker on a range of topics spanning digital privacy, net neutrality, censorship, surveillance, data mining among others. His deep belief and respect for the internet as a unique space without borders, drove him to speak fiercely to keep it like that – out of control of any institution. His comments/arguments were concise and nuanced, reflecting his understanding of how technology, policy and laws were evolving globally. He was respectful of difference of opinion and countered them purely on facts. Over time, as Nikhil became more comfortable with the medium of television – his arguments became more forceful, but never rose in decibels – which is often the norm. He also identified certain issues that he felt passionate enough to campaign for them and in those, he was absolutely the last word.”