Jean Marie Etter spent his childhood in the Middle East, studied at Beirut University and was granted a master degree in philosophy from Lyon University, in France. He started his journalism career at the public service radio in the French speaking part of Switzerland where he was later appointed head of training and development at the HR department, before becoming deputy secretary general. Together with François Gross and Philippe Dahinden, in 1995 he set up the Fondation Hirondelle, a Swiss NGO of journalists and humanitarian aid professionals which creates and supports independent, civic-minded news media in conflict, post-conflict and crisis areas. Jean Marie Etter has also been teaching at the Lille School of Journalism (ESJ) and at the French Centre for Journalism Training in Lausanne. He was awarded with the Swiss Journalism Excellence Award and he is the author of many articles and papers on media in areas of conflict.