Breakthrough Media Network

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This article is part of the Counter-Terrorism Portal project of Spinwatch.

Breakthrough Media logo, via LinkedIn

Breakthrough Media Network is a London communications company, founded in 2008. [1] The company specialises in producing digital campaign materials for 'governments, non-profits, inter-governmental organisations and progressive companies', with a goal to 'strengthen society and inspire positive social change'. [2]

Breakthrough Media has produced a series of government campaign resources, including for the Department for Education, the Department for Health, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Home Office.

Ties to the RICU

A report by the Muslim-focused advocacy group CAGE released in May 2016 alleges that the Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU), the Home Office's 'strategic communications' body, works through Breakthrough Media to covertly promote counter extremist narratives. [3]

As part of the government's PREVENT counter-radicalisation programme, Breakthrough Media reportedly receives funding from the Home Office to produce digital material (e.g. films, Facebook profiles, websites) in order to 'influence online conversations by being embedded within target communities via a network of moderate organisations that are supportive of it’s [sic] goals'. These materials are then 'hosted' by civil society groups and 'grassroots' community organisations, in order to gain credibility of independence. [4]

The report alleges that the government determined the editorial line of several multimedia campaigns produced by Breakthrough Media. Additionally, the communications company is protected by the Official Secrets Act, which staff of Breakthrough Media are required to sign, thereby shielding its full activities from public scrutiny and disclosure.


Leaked document showing relationship between Breakthrough Media (and thus with RICU) of a range of allegedly independent civil society groups including Active Change Foundation, Anti-Tribalism Movement, FAST, FIDA Management, FMO, Imams Online, Inspire, JAN Trust, JIMAS, New Horizons, Plain Islam, Tiger Legends, Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace, Upstanding Neighbourhoods

Educate Against Hate

Families Matter

Fightback Starts Here

Help for Syria


Former reality TV producer. [5]

Former deputy chief of staff at lobbying firm Bell Pottinger. [6]

Circa March 2015

Robert Elliott Managing Director | Scott Brown Managing Director | Ellie Davis Head of Production | Alex Blance Account Director | Joseph Sayegh Lead Web Developer | Isobel Ricketts Production Manager | Hiran Balasuriya Post Production Supervisor | Will West Producer/Director | Srdjan Spremo PPC Specialist | Lucy Skelley Production Manager | Sean Glynn Researcher | Paul Krajewski Senior Production Coordinator | Mary Olivia Hickey Communications Assistant | Marwah Shire Junior Accountant | Martin Lye Graphic Designer | Anil Douglas Researcher | Lea von Maritus Community Manager | Martin Harris Community Manager | Karim Mijal Campaign Manager | Ho Ting Chung Digital Manager | Gulsum Acar Campaign Manager | Claire Bamford Financial Controller | Catherine Stringer Events Production Manager | Ben Taylor Campaign Manager | Adam Mazrani Campaign Manager | Alexa Anderson Office Manager | Harriet Osborne Crowley Production Coordinator | Simon Theis Jensen Art Director | Luke Gawin Producer/Director | Louis Brooke Head of East Africa | Elizabeth C Jones Senior Producer/Director | Karla Zambrano Production Manager | Chloe Quinlan Events Coordinator | Matt Potter Shooting Producer/Director[7]


PR and lobbying agencies

Bell Pottinger | Chime Communications

UK Government

Department for Education | Department of Health | Home Office | Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Civil society groups

Inspire | FAST


African Union | UN


Contact details

  • London
Elizabeth House
39 York Road
London SE1 7NQ
+44 (0)20 7401 2555
  • Nairobi
P.O Box 14230-008001
Nairobi, Kenya
+254 (0)791 578 642
  • Sydney
PO Box 524
NSW 2007

+61 (0) 2 8042 8100




See Also

RICU | European Strategic Communications Network | Syria Strategic Communications Advisory Team | The Network Hub


  1. Breakthrough Media Network LTD, Companies House, accessed 24 January 2017.
  2. About us, Breakthrough Media, accessed 24 January 2017.
  3. Ben Hayes and Asim Qureshi, 'We are completely independent', CAGE, accessed 25 January 2017.
  4. Ian Cobain, Alice Ross, Rob Evans and Mona Mahmood, Inside Ricu, the shadowy propaganda unit inspired by the cold war, The Guardian, 2 May 2016, accessed 16 January 2017.
  5. Robert Elliott, LinkedIn, accessed 24 January 2017.
  6. Scott Brown, LinkedIn, accessed 24 January 2017.
  7. Breakthrough Media Team. Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 10 March 2015 on 6 May 2016.
  8. Ian Cobain, Alice Ross, Rob Evans and Mona Mahmood, Inside Ricu, the shadowy propaganda unit inspired by the cold war, The Guardian, 2 May 2016.