Founder and executive director
laurent.richard [at] freedomvoicesnetwork.org
PGP key (EC8296E6)
Laurent Richard is a journalist, executive producer of investigative documentaries, founder and executive director of Forbidden Stories.
For more than 20 years, Laurent Richard has been conducting international investigations and major reports for television. At the age of 25, he left for the Kashmir valley to film the conflict between India and Pakistan, and for Palestine when the second Intifada broke out. In 2004, he made a resounding investigation for French public television entitled “GI’S in Iraq: Forbidden Words” ( “GI’s en Irak, Paroles Interdites”).
Laurent Richard 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 clandestine actions carried out by Mossad or the CIA…
In 2011, he co-founded the award-winning investigative magazine “Cash Investigation” broadcast on French public television. In 2015, Laurent won the prize for best investigation at FIGRA for his documentary “My president is on a business trip”. An investigation into human rights violations and corruption rampant in Azerbaijan. The same year, on 2015 January 7th, Laurent, who was working at the news agency Premières Lignes, next door to the Charlie Hebdo team, arrived on the scene a few minutes after the terrorists had left the building. Laurent and some of his colleagues went to the Charlie Hebdo newsroom immediately to help the survivors of the attack, most of whom were journalists like themselves. This traumatic experience convinced Laurent of the need to create a worldwide organization whose mission would be to continue the work of the murdered journalists.
In 2016, he was awarded by the University of Michigan a one-year Knight Wallace Fellowship during which he developed the idea and concept of a global network of journalists whose mission is to pursue the investigations of reporters who have been murdered, jailed or threatened. On November 2, 2017, the Forbidden Stories consortium was born at a launch conference in Washington DC. Since its creation, Laurent and his team have been able to raise more than four millions US dollars to ensure the development of Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based nonprofit that now employs 12 full-time staff and coordinates investigations with 150 reporters and more than 60 news organizations including The Washington Post, The Guardian, Le Monde and many others.
The first investigation coordinated by Forbidden Stories will be the “Daphne Project” , published in June 2018, several months after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The “Daphne Project” brought together 45 journalists and 18 media outlets including the New York Times in the United States and Le Monde in France. The message of the organization is: “You killed the messenger, but you will not kill the message”.
Since its creation, Forbidden Stories has won numerous awards including the prestigious “European Press Prize”, two Georges Polk Awards or the “Reporters Without Borders Impact Award” for the “Pegasus Project” published in 2021.
Documentary producer, Laurent Richard has produced, among others, the series “Green Blood” which won the Europa Award for the best European documentary series in 2020 and is currently producing several documentaries for PBS Frontline, BBC and Arte.
To further protect journalists, Laurent Richard has created the Safebox Network, a unique tool that allows the most threatened journalists to protect their ongoing investigations and to let those who would silence them know that they are no longer alone. The launch of Forbidden Stories’ Safebox network was announced at the 2022 World Press Freedom Day conference in Uruguay. Since then, more than 50 journalists around the world have already protected their investigations using the Safebox Network.
Innovative social entrepreneur Laurent Richard has just been elected a Fellow by the NGO Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs.
Laurent Richard has spoken at numerous institutions in France and Europe as well as on the campuses of Harvard, Yale University and Michigan. He was named “European Journalist of the Year” at the Prix Europa in Berlin in 2018. He is the co-author with Sandrine Rigaud of the book “Pegasus. How a Spy in Your Pocket Threatens the End of Privacy, Dignity, and Democracy” which will be released in January 2023 in the United States and worldwide by Holt Editions. Laurent has been elected Ashoka fellow in 2022, Ashoka is the largest international community of innovative and social entrepreneurs.