Freedom Voices Network, fighting for journalists’ freedom of speech and safety, was launched in October 2017 in Washington by Laurent Richard. We were asked to help give birth to a project to protect endangered journalists.
The brief was simple: to call out all endangered journalists around the world for them to hand over their documents to Freedom voices network. The objective was also simple. Maintain as many endangered journalists alive.
So, Forbidden Stories was born, an encrypted cloud platform for journalists to save their stories and by extension, their lives.
Journalists who feel insecure can protect their stories into our encrypted cloud platform using block chain technology. In case something happens to them, their stories will be resumed, finished and revealed broadly. The first forbidden story is called Daphne Project, after Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was killed in a car bomb attack. She was calling out political corruption in Malta.
We gathered 45 journalists from 18 news organizations and make them collaborate to resume hundreds of thousands encrypted documents to complete Daphne's investigations with one goal in mind: reveal what Daphne's killers wanted to hide.
Forbidden Story is not just an encrypted cloud platform. It is a message to all endangered journalists and to all those who endanger journalists.
Daphne project is the first forbidden story to tell all endangered journalists: "they may frighten you, they won't kill your stories, they won't kill you". It is also a clear message to all those who frighten journalists: by silencing a journalist, you expose yourself to an even bigger story.
The more journalists use the platform, the more journalists upload their documents on the encrypted cloud, the more journalists are safe. We have used the Freedom Voices Network influence to support the use of the platform.
On Sunday 15th of April, forbiddenstories.org was launched with Daphne's story as a first piece of content. The secrecy around the launch was major, as all journalists and us were at potential risk for dealing with a sensitive project which was about to create a political earthquake. That day and the following week, all 45 journalists from 18 news organizations released the forbidden story and called on their front pages, online and TV reports the journalists around the world to join the network.