109 rue Henri Maubel
1190 BRUSSELS - Belgium

About us

Our team is composed of:

Jean-François Furnémont, Founding Partner (jff at wagner-hatfield.com)

Jean-François has an M.A. in Journalism and Communication Studies at the Université Libre de Bruxelles – ULB, B.A. in International Relations and European policy at the Université de Liège – ULG and B.A. in Public Finances at the Université Catholique de Louvain – UCL. Former freelance journalist and former spokesman of a political party, he is the author of several books of political science and a number of publications on media policy and regulation.

He held the position of Director General (2003-1014) of the audiovisual media regulatory authority (CSA) of the French speaking Community in Belgium. He has also been actively involved in the Board of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) as vice-Chairman (2008-2011) and as Chairman (2011-2014).

Jean-François is Senior Adviser at the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) and a Member of the Scientific Committee of the Revue du droit des industries de réseau – Tijdschrift voor het recht van netwekindustrieën – Network Industries Law Review (RDIR – TRNI).

As the author of many studies, research projects and publications, Jean-François excels in the following fields : drafting and reviewing of media primary/secondary legislation and broadcasting codes, advice and capacity building for media regulatory authorities and ministries, material scope of media regulation (online media, social networks, video-sharing platforms), jurisdiction issues, licensing and related systems, media concentration and transparency of medai ownership, promotion of domestic and European works and financial support schemes to audiovisual creation, hate speech, protection of minors, commercial communications, articulation between self- and co-regulation and statutory regulation.

Marc Janssen, Founding Partner – on leave

Marc has a PhD in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles – UCLA, a BA at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Journalism & Communication, and a MA in political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University, New York. He has been a Teaching Fellow at UCLA, at the Center for American Politics and Public Policy in Washington, DC and at the University of Kent – Brussels School of International Studies.

He was spokesperson and a senior advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium from 1994 to 1999, overseeing the communication department. Member of the Board of the Belgian Public Radio and Television (RTBF) from 2004 to 2007, he was appointed, at the end of 2007, for a five-year term to the presidency of the audiovisual media regulatory authority in French-speaking Belgium (CSA). He was also Chairman of REFRAM, the network of media regulators in French-speaking Europe, Africa and North America in 2011 and 2012.

Marc is currently serving as Head of Fiction at the RTBF.

Tanja Kerševan Smokvina, Associate Partner – on leave

Tanja has a PhD in Communication Science from University of Ljubljana. As a media and internet governance expert with background in journalism and research she spent 18 years in various senior positions in the Slovenian media and communications regulatory authorities.

Internationally, she has worked with the Council of Europe, the European Audiovisual Observatory, OSCE, OSF and EU funds and instruments. In 2011-2013 she managed the EU co-funded transnational project SEE Digi.TV for harmonisation of the digital switchover in the Adriatic region. In 2016 she chaired the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) Subgroup 3 developing the Digital European Toolkit for efficient and flexible regulation.

Tanja has served two mandates at the Council of Europe CDMSI sub-committees, in 2016-2017 as Member of the Committee of Experts on Internet Intermediaries (MSI-NET) and in 2018-2019 as Member of the Committee of Experts on Artificial Intelligence (MSI-AUT). She teaches media related subjects at University of Maribor.

Tanja is currently serving as State Secretary responsible for media and creative sector (Ministry of Culture of the Slovenian Government).

Our name

picture of both

Robert F. Wagner (D-NY) and Henry D. Hatfield (R-WV) were US Senators in the 1930’s. Together and separately, they were known for initiating and pushing for measures that aimed to be progressive, innovative and pragmatic. Rising above party lines and striving to find new solutions to the dominant issues of post-depression America, they tackled social security and labor relations issues, but were especially active in regulatory issues.

The 1930s saw the emergence of new forms of governance, with the creation of several independent agencies what we call now regulatory authorities:  the Federal Communication Commission (FCC, for broadcasting policy) in 1934, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC, for securities, stocks and options exchange) the same year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB, for labor policy and agreements between unions and corporations) in 1935, the latter being created by the Wagner Act.

This fundamental shift in public administration progressively became an important source of inspiration in Europe. The United Kingdom was the first in the fifties and sixties to start establishing hundreds of so-called « quangos » (quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations); Western Europe followed in the seventies and eighties, as well as Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.

Network industries (transport, energy, telecommunications…) and sectors dealing with the protection of fundamental rights (media freedom, privacy, fight against discriminations, transparency of public administration…) are now regulated by such agencies which cumulate normative, administrative and jurisdictional functions, yet function outside and independently of the legislative, executive or judiciary branches.

Wagner and Hatfield worked to address regulatory challenges which are still very much relevant today: efficiency and pragmatism of rules and legislations, innovation in public governance, impartiality of arbitration, quality of working relationship between regulators and private actors…

While we have no personal or professional affiliation with these political leaders and their families, we chose the name of our firm as both a tribute and an affirmation of shared commitments.