Forbidden Stories

Annual reports

Find here all of Forbidden Stories’ annual reports. These reports will give you a detailed overview of the investigations we’ve published and of their international impact.

Word from Laurent Richard, founder and director – 2023 Report

2023 was a year of considerable growth for Forbidden Stories. We published more investigations this year than in any other, we welcomed new donors, and we doubled our workforce and our budget for 2024. This is the result of tireless efforts to give ourselves the means to keep stories alive.

This year, at least 99 journalists were killed according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Albania, Haiti, Paraguay, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Ukraine, to only name a few. The war in Gaza has been particularly devastating, with at least 94 journalists and media workers killed since 7 October, most of them Palestinian.

Violence against journalists knows no borders, so neither does our work. In the face of a global phenomenon, our response has to be global as well. This is why, this year, we strived to publish more, more frequently, and to expand the SafeBox Network around the world. Our goal: to build a systematic, journalistic response to violence against journalists. We need enemies of press freedom to know, wherever they are, that they will not kill the stories.

This year, our investigations covered corruption, cronyism, and the disinformation industry — issues that are all essential to reinforce transparency and democracy.

We also gave particular prominence to environmental crimes, an issue for which journalists, environmentalists and Indigenous rights defenders are too often made to pay the ultimate price. We first began investigating environmental crimes in 2019 with Green Blood, which we followed up on in 2022 with Mining Secrets. This year, two of our four international investigations brought environmental crimes to light: the Rafael Project, and the Bruno and Dom Project.

With these two projects, our consortium made a powerful statement: environmental crimes will not go unnoticed or unchallenged. At a time when big multinationals are redoubling efforts to greenwash their PR campaigns, these investigations demonstrate once again the importance of free and independent journalism to uncover facts of public interest.

This year was also marked by the publication of the first two investigations based on information entrusted to our SafeBox Network. Through the Rafael Project and The Front Companies Robbing the State of Mexico, we pursued and gave visibility and reach to the stories investigated by Rafael Moreno in Colombia, and by María Teresa Montaño Delgado in Mexico. These two courageous journalists received persistent, bone-chilling threats in reprisal for their work, which tragically materialized in Rafael’s case. But by ensuring the survival of their stories, we showed that these attempts to silence journalists are pointless. Their aggressors must know that we stand ready to continue the stories they tried to hide.

In 2023, Forbidden Stories continued to make an impact globally. The revelations of our Story Killers investigation for example triggered a far-reaching investigation into foreign interference in France, leading to the indictment of three influential figures in the country. And this impact is yet another testament to the role of independent journalism as a cornerstone of democracy, and to the fact that collaborative journalism makes a difference.”

Laurent Richard

2023 Report

2022 Report

2021 Report

2017-2020 Report