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Digital Activism Nominees 2015

Recognises innovative uses of new technology to circumvent censorship and foster debate.

Tamas Bodoky

Winner

Tamas Bodoky, Atlatszo.hu

Investigative news website

Hungary

Hungarian journalist Tamás Bodoky founded the investigative news website Atlatszo.hu to promote a free press in Hungary, a country where journalists and news organisations face recently introduced media taxes, a proposed internet tax for citizens, smear campaigns and police-run office raids. Bodoky has brought together a range of crowd-sourced approaches to empower citizens in the face of this deteriorating situation for human rights, including tools to allow for anonymous reporting of corruption, to help investigate freedom of information requests (and refusals), and MagyarLeaks, a Tor-based whistleblowing service. Last year Atlatszo.hu was put on the government’s NGO blacklist, but Bodoky continues to run the site, as well as workshops to help keep investigative journalism in Hungary alive.

Acceptance speech: The independence of journalism in Hungary is under threat

Full profile: Digital activism nominee Tamás Bodoky and Atlatszo.hu

Nico Sell

Internet activist

California

A US-based entrepreneur and activist for online privacy and secure digital communication, Sell is the CEO of Wickr, a private messaging app with watertight encryption technology. Messages sent using the app ‘self-destruct’ after a length of time adjusted by the sender – from six days to three seconds – and are then overwritten by gibberish data on the sender’s and receiver’s phones, making them impossible to recreate. Sell also speaks around the world, working to teach individuals how they can look out for their own internet privacy including every year at Defcon where Sell runs a nonprofit training camp for children and teenagers called r00tz Asylum – teaching white-hat hacking. Full profile: Digital activism nominee Nico Sell

Nico Sell
Valor por Tamaulipas

Valor por Tamaulipas

Crowd-sourced news platform

Mexico

The Tamaulipas region is top of Mexico’s most dangerous list for journalists; six journalists have been murdered there since 2010. Citizens here not only live under the cartel’s violence, but also the resultant media blackout. Journalists have been silenced. In the face of this Valor por Tamaulipas operates as a crowd-sourced news platform, offering its hundreds of thousands of social media followers up-to-date reports on cartel violence. The anonymous administrators are under constant threat. Tragically Dr María del Rosario Fuentes Rubio, co-administrator of Valor’s sister page Esperanza was kidnapped and murdered last year by cartel members, with ominous messages left from her Twitter account by her murderers. But Valor remains running, posting dozens of daily alerts to anonymously alert citizens of cartel activity. Full profile: Digital activism nominee Valor por Tamaulipas

Syria Tracker

Online mapping site

Syria

Syria Tracker is an online map that shows where human rights abuses are happening in Syria, charting exactly when and where violence such as murders, rapes and chemical attacks have taken place, as well as instances where food and water supplies have been tampered with. The site encourages civilians to anonymously report what’s going on in Syria, using encryption technology such as Tor in one of the world’s most difficult and dangerous countries for reporters. Not only does Syria Tracker allow outside relief teams to know what’s going on, the map also provides the rest of the world with otherwise non-existent accurate and up-to-date information. Crucially, by collating diverse data Syria Tracker has been able to illustrate trends in violence in Syria, such as last year’s rise in civilian deaths, suggesting they are being increasingly targeted. Full profile: Digital activism nominee Syria Tracker

Syria Tracker

Voting has now closed. The winner will be announced at the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards on March 18, 2015