May 3, 2022 10:36 am
On World Press Freedom Day (May 3), the Forbidden Stories consortium is officially launching the SafeBox Network. This new network allows threatened journalists to keep their sensitive information safe by sharing it with our global network of journalists. If these journalists are kidnapped, imprisoned or murdered, Forbidden Stories will be able to continue their investigations and publish them worldwide.
Protecting, in addition to pursuing and publishing: the SafeBox Network complements the mission Forbidden Stories has pursued since its inception. It aims to act before the threats received by journalists result in crimes.
Since its inception in 2017, Forbidden Stories has built a powerful network of media partners by coordinating collaborative investigations (Pegasus Project, Daphne Project, Cartel Project, Mining Secrets, etc.). These major investigations have had an impact around the world and have received multiple awards, including two George Polk awards.
Ensuring the survival of the stories
By building on this international network, the SafeBox Network has a clear objective: to dissuade the enemies of the press from attacking journalists, as what they seek to silence would be exposed worldwide. Killing the messenger will not kill the message.
By making it public that they have shared their ongoing investigations with the Forbidden Stories network, journalists can deter those who threaten them from attacking them. Like Alfredo Guachiré, a Paraguayan journalist threatened for his scoops on ‘narco-politics,’ who tweeted in March 2022: “For my safety, (…) I turn to the organization Forbidden Stories to protect my investigations.”
Forbidden Stories held a workshop in São Paulo, Brazil, in March 2022 with a dozen highly threatened journalists from across Latin America. They have begun to protect their information with the SafeBox Network.
WHAT SAFEBOX NETWORK MEMBER JOURNALISTS SAY:
“We are afraid. And we want to continue investigating. In Colombia, a journalist’s life is worth nothing. [With the SafeBox Network] we can let those on the front lines know that even if something happens to one of us, the investigation will be published. I think that protects both our work and our lives.”
Óscar Parra, Colombian journalist
“If I leave this world tomorrow, I want this information to be known. [With the SafeBox Network], our response to these attacks will be primarily journalistic.”
Paola Ugaz, Peruvian journalist
“For me, the SafeBox Network represents hope. I come from a [Mexican] state where most of the territory has been silenced by both organized crime and the government. From now on, the enemies of the press will think twice before committing such crimes. If they come after me, it won’t end there. Even if they kill me, they will not silence me.”
Jonathan Cuevas, Mexican journalist
THEY SUPPORT US:
“As an association that defends press freedom and the safety of journalists, Abraji supports the SafeBox Network. It is an original solution for fighting against impunity. The SafeBox Network acts before threatened journalists are silenced. In Brazil, this network will be useful to many journalists whose work disturbs those in power”
Cristina Zahar, Executive secretary of Abraji (partner of the SafeBox Network)
WHAT FORBIDDEN STORIES SAYS:
“We want to send a clear message to the enemies of press freedom. Killing a reporter will always be counterproductive. Why kill a journalist when there are 80 others who are willing to continue his work? What you intend to hide will ultimately be exposed around the world on a massive scale.”
Laurent Richard, Founder and executive director of Forbidden Stories
“All over the world, journalists are imprisoned, kidnapped, and murdered, depriving millions of people of general interest information. To ensure that their investigations do not disappear with them, Forbidden Stories has created the SafeBox Network. It’s a collective, global, journalistic response to defeat impunity.”
Clément Le Merlus, Journalist and SafeBox Network Project Manager
They support us
2021 Nobel Peace Prize
“All they want in killing a journalist, or in attacking a journalist, is to stop the story.”
Former editor of the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet
“It will send a very clear message to oppressive governments that if they touch a journalist anywhere in the world, many others will be ready to support and follow up their story.”
Azerbajani investigative journalist
“What you are suggesting is creating a newsroom for journalists who have no press freedom. You will get fantastic stories.“
Matthew Caruana Galizia
Maltese journalist, son of slain reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia
“We couldn’t allow our mother’s stories to die with her. They were too important. For them to be forgotten would have been like killing her twice.“
Mediapart‘s head of investigations
“The finest project of investigative journalism, in solidarity against censorship.“
“Now I know that Forbidden Stories will always have my back.”
2017 Pulitzer Prize winner
“Even if Forbidden Stories rescues just a handful of investigations that fall into a sort of limbo each time a journalist is jailed or killed, it will already be a great victory for citizens.”
Executive editor at Pulitzer Center
“By working together, journalists can make it harder for censorship to win. We’re proud to support Forbidden Stories.”