Forbidden Stories

Laurent Richard

Laurent Richard is an investigative journalist, documentary producer, and the founder and Director of Forbidden Stories.

Laurent has been carrying out international investigations and reporting for television for over 25 years. At the age of 25, he traveled to the Kashmir Valley to report on the conflict between India and Pakistan, as well as to Palestine at the start of the second Intifada. In 2004, he produced a major investigation for French public television entitled “GIs in Iraq: Forbidden Words” (“GI’S en Irak: Paroles Interdites”).

Laurent is also the author of numerous investigations into the lies of the tobacco industry, the abuses of the financial sector, human rights violations in Central Asia, threats against indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon, and the clandestine actions of Mossad and the CIA. 

In 2011, he co-founded “Cash Investigation”, a news show broadcast on French public television (France 2). For Cash Investigation, he produced a documentary on corruption in Azerbaijan titled “My President is on a business trip” (“Mon président est en voyage d’affaires”), which earned him the 2015 award for best investigation at the Festival International du Grand Reportage d’Actualité. It was notably while shooting this documentary, following the imprisonment of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, that he became convinced of the need for a journalistic response to attacks on the press. 

In 2016, he was selected as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan. During this year-long fellowship, he developed the concept of a global network of journalists whose mission would be to pursue the investigations of silenced reporters: thus began Forbidden Stories.

He was named European journalist of the year during the 2018 Prix Europa in Berlin for the Daphne Project, which would be the first in a long series of forbidden investigations. Forbidden Stories has since won numerous awards, including the prestigious European Press Prize, the George Polk Award, and the RSF Press Freedom Award for the 2021 Pegasus Project. 

As the Executive Director of Forbidden Stories, Laurent leads a Paris-based team of 22 staff members which coordinates investigations with 150 journalists and over 90 media organizations, including The Washington Post, The Guardian, and Le Monde, among many others. An innovative social entrepreneur, he was elected an Ashoka fellow in 2022, and now is part of the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs. 

As a documentary producer, Laurent’s credits include the “Green Blood” series, which won the 2020 Prix Europa for Best European Documentary Series. 

He is also the co-author, alongside Sandrine Rigaud, of the book “Pegasus: How a Spy in Your Pocket Threatens the End of Privacy, Dignity, and Democracy”, published in January 2023 in the U.S. by Henry Holt and Co.

About Forbidden Stories' history